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Beltrami County to examine jail feasibility study contract, discuss short-term rentals

The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners will review a proposal and potential contract with Justice Planners LLC. to conduct a jail feasibility study at its board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

Beltrami County logo web art .jpg

BEMIDJI — The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners will review a proposal and potential contract with Justice Planners LLC. to conduct a jail feasibility study at its board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

Justice Planners was one of two firms to submit a proposal for a Beltrami County Jail Needs and Feasibility Study. The fact that they are able to do the study in person contributed to the county’s choice to proceed with them.

The study is a part of the Jail Project, which seeks to determine ways to improve the existing jail and its operations, motivated by limited bed space and an increasing jail population.

In their plan, Justice Planners will conduct interviews with staff and appointed officials, review facilities and programs, address demographic disparities and the overall operation of the Beltrami criminal justice system before providing recommendations for the county moving forward.

The overall goal consists of improving the well-being and safety of both staff and inmates and reducing the total jail population and operational costs. The recommendations provided by the study will be categorized as elective or essential.

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Ordinance for Short-Term Rentals

The board will also discuss a potential ordinance regulating short-term rentals, which include services like Airbnb and Vrbo, following a number of complaints and concerns expressed by community members.

The ordinance would create permits for those looking to provide short-term rentals, dividing them into groups based on max occupancy. It would also require guest registration records and other standards to operate a rental.

Quiet hours would be enacted from the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. Areas meant for outdoor gatherings such as patios and fire pits would have to be designed in a way to be considerate of noise levels. The ordinance would also regulate parking spaces, which must be provided on-site and cannot be in yards and other green spaces.

A complaint system would be put in place and any violations of these rules could result in a misdemeanor, fine or the revocation of the short-term rental permit.

The board will also review a possible agenda for a meeting with the Leech Lake Tribal Council, tentatively scheduled for March 1. Topics under consideration include Beltrami County and Leech Lake relations and collaboration, housing and homelessness, and roadway improvements and coordination.

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICSBELTRAMI COUNTY JAILBELTRAMI COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Nicole Ronchetti is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer, focusing on local government and community health.
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