Mendota Heights changes course on electric motors for Rogers Lake

Rogers Lake boaters, start your engines.

The Mendota Heights City Council approved an ordinance during its Sept. 17 meeting that will allow people to use boats with electric motors on Rogers Lake south of Wagon Wheel Trail. The move is a reversal from the council’s stance last summer, when it decided not to pursue an ordinance amendment on electric motors despite a petition from a Rogers Lake homeowners association.

The new ordinance allows people to operate boats under 14 feet long with electric motors of five horsepower on the lake. It also stipulates the boats must be operated slowly enough to avoid creating wakes, and only between sunrise and sunset.

The provisions are slightly more conservative than those originally sought by the Rogers Lake Property Owners Association. In its original petition last summer, the group sought to use boats up to 18 feet in length with motors up to 10 horsepower. The group returned to the city’s parks and recreation commission last April with the adjusted numbers as a way to move the petition forward.

In fact, the council approved a version of the new ordinance in its May 12 meeting, but it was withdrawn after the Department of Natural Resources contacted city staff to say its department had to sign off on the changes, since Rogers Lake is officially a DNR-monitored lake.

The ordinance underwent minor revisions to gain DNR approval before being brought back to the council Sept. 17.

Mendota Heights now joins fellow Dakota County cities Apple Valley, Eagan, Lakeville and Hastings in allowing at least some use of electric motors on lakes within city limits. Inver Grove Heights, West St. Paul and Rosemount do not allow electric motors, and South St. Paul has no lakes inside city limits.

The new ordinance will remain in effect for one year from passage, which is intended to allow the electric motors through the bulk of next year’s boating season. After that, the council has the option to revisit the ordinance and decide whether to make it permanent.

— Luke Reiter


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