Boaters beware, no wake zones have permanently been put in place on sections of two Douglas County lakes – Latoka and Lobster. Also, electric trolling motors are now OK to use on a portion of Lake Ida.

Douglas County commissioners approved these changes at the Tuesday, April 8, regular board meeting.

Douglas County Land and Resource Management Director Dave Rush told commissioners that the state provides authority on certain usages on bodies of water, but that the county has the ability to zone certain areas based on safety and environmental concerns. The changes proposed by Rush were amendments to the Douglas County Water Surface Use Ordinance.

The amendment was to impose no wake zoning within Latoka Narrows on Lake Latoka and Boxcar Bay on Lobster Lake.

Latoka Narrows runs under Interstate 94 between the north and south bays. Rush said that the Lakota Lake Association supports the change and that he received correspondence from other lake property owners in support of the no wake zone. He also noted that his office did receive a letter from someone who opposed the change and felt it was “rather excessive.”

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Boxcar Bay is in the south half of the northwest quarter of the Lobster Lake.

Rush noted that the Department of Natural Resources will need to sign off on the changes and that after it does, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will place the appropriate signs in the designated areas.

The sheriff’s office, water patrol and the DNR will be the enforcing agencies for the new no wakes zones, as they are for all other no wake zones in the county.

On Lake Ida, the change affects an area known as Johnson Bay, located in the southeast quarter of the lake. The ordinance states that “no person may operate a watercraft propelled by a motor powered by anything other than electricity (electric trolling motor) within Johnson Bay of Lake Ida.” Motors had previously not been allowed in this area of the lake.

Douglas County Chairman Jerry Rapp was in favor of the changes and said, “These are reasonable actions.” They were unanimously approved.

Interim assessor appointed

Until a new county assessor is hired, the commissioners have appointed Stacy Honkomp as the interim assessor. Former assessor Keith Albertsen retired. His last day was March 31.

Honkomp has worked in the assessor’s office for the past 17 years, most recently as the assistant county assessor.

Stacy Honkomp
Stacy Honkomp

According to Heather Schlangen, county coordinator, the position was open, but none of the applicants met the requirements. She said they re-evaluated the position and changed the requirements. They will now hold another recruitment period.

In other action

At Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners also approved the following:

  • Preliminary plat of Frankies Place, a one-lot plat in Holmes City Township.

  • Conditional use permit for Froemming Properties LLC/Utopia Soils LLC. The permit is to allow a source-separated organic matter compositing operation for agriculture by-products and residential and commercial composting materials. The facility will be in Ida Township.

  • Donation of $25 to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

  • Renewals for liquor, beer and wine licenses for 25 businesses.

  • Gambling permits for four organizations.

  • Selling excess equipment and tools from Public Works on K-Bid.

  • Purchasing two new mowers from Ollie’s Service for Public Works and then selling one of the used mowers on K-Bid.

  • Findings of fact and order approving the redetermination of benefits for Douglas County Ditch 6.

  • Findings of fact and order approving the redetermination of benefits for Douglas County Ditch 17

  • Set a tentative date for the Hearing for Petitions to remove property from County Ditch 6 for Tuesday, May 18, at 9:05 a.m.

  • Aerial spraying for tent caterpillars if needed from West Central Ag-Air Inc. out of Fergus Falls and Benson Air Ag Inc. from Benson.

  • Extension of small gym lease with Alexandria Public Schools. The lease will now expire Feb. 28, 2022.