Two Harbors amends ordinance for bait shop
TWO HARBORS -- Like the fish some of his customers angle for, LeRoy Veness might feel as if he's been swimming upstream. Now, however, with an ordinance change nearly complete, Veness can look forward to operating his bait shop in total complianc...
TWO HARBORS -- Like the fish some of his customers angle for, LeRoy Veness might feel as if he's been swimming upstream.
Now, however, with an ordinance change nearly complete, Veness can look forward to operating his bait shop in total compliance with the law.
His problem now is letting people know where it is.
At first, Veness had no idea he wasn't supposed to add a few minnow sales onto his repair service located at the end of Recycle Center Drive in Two Harbors. He learned of it when he asked the city for permission to put up an off-premises sign that would alert traveling anglers that there was a bait shop in town.
"Al [from Al's Bait] was going out of business, and I had talked with him about purchasing the tanks," Veness said. Not only would it keep fresh bait available, it would provide a job for his wife, Nancy, who had recently been laid off from Lake View Memorial Hospital.
Veness had put out a temporary sign on the highway, and grateful anglers regularly made their way to his door. But when he asked the city for the sign, he was told that not only are off-premises signs banned by the state on Scenic Byways -- which is Highway 61's designation -- but the zoning for light industrial did not allow retail sales.
When the subject came up at a City Council meeting, councilors were clearly perplexed. They couldn't defy a zoning ordinance, but they also believed the bait shop was important for the town and Veness.
Their solution was to amend the ordinance so that Veness -- and anyone like him in town who might be mixing zoning activities -- can operate their businesses and comply. The new language was written, a public hearing will be held Thursday, and after three readings by the council, the amended ordinance will go into effect.
"People stopped me at the deer shack this year to ask when we'll be open," Veness said.
He'll carry a full line of minnows, leeches, crawlers, waxies and frozen ciscoes, as well as tackle, fishing and hunting licenses and ammunition.
The couple hopes the amended ordinance will be in place by the opening of fishing season in May. They still have the sign issue to deal with, however. They plan to put up posters in stores and do some advertising, but without a sign, travelers will never realize his shop is tucked back off the highway, Veness said.
"We're hoping there will be some kind of loophole somewhere so that we can get that sign up," he said.