The perceived problem of illegal signs (see story in Wednesday’s News Tribune), isn’t the only issue facing Lakewood Township these days.
The township board asked zoning administrator Ryan Mears to look into the accumulation of signs posted along township roads without the required permits and in violation of a 300-foot rule.
But he’s also tackling other problems in the township just north of Duluth.
“The township is just looking to enforce the rules on the books, not just signs,” Mears said. “We’re going after people with a lot of junk in their yards. If they have more than three cars rusting in the ground… you can’t do that either.”
It’s a mentality that has existed in the township for years, he says.
“There has been a certain segment of the population of Lakewood over the last 30 years, who have felt, ‘this is my land, I can do anything I want with it,’ ” Mears said. “We’ve had people build buildings without permits. We have had people with 20 acres of land take in construction debris and burn it off.”
Much of it comes done to zoning and what’s allowed.
When he came to the job about a year ago, the message he got was: We got to fix this, stop this. And not just the signs.
It’s a big job. Maybe that’s why the two previous zoning administrators didn’t last long.