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Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program

North Shore GIS Assessment
North Shore Management Board

Ben VanTassel, NSMB Staff
April 30, 2008

Project No. 306-STAR05-07

Contract No. B07348

This project was funded in part under the Coastal Zone Management Act, by NOAA’s
Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, in conjunction with Minnesota’s
Lake Superior Coastal Program and by local units of government of the North Shore of
Lake Superior.
FINAL REPORT

INTRODUCTION
In 2004 the North Shore Management Board (NSMB) completed an update of the North
Shore Management Plan (NSMP). In the plan there were several objectives that the
NSMB identified as priorities and imperative to the sustainability of the North Shore.
The NSMB started to complete projects on this list and identified the North Shore GIS
Assessment as a priority in 2007.

WORK COMPLETED
The NSMB completed this GIS Assessment with help from the NSMB Technical
Advisory Committee (TAC). The GIS Assessment consisted of three main steps;
identification of GIS utilization, needs identification, and document development.

The NSMB staff initiated the project with assistance from the TAC by identifying what
should be covered in the assessment and necessary outcomes. A list of potential needs
and problems was identified and the cities and townships were contacted. The local staff
was asked questions about their current GIS usage and need for GIS. It was established
by the local units of government staff that GIS was not being fully utilized by any of the
governments. The NSMB also briefly contacted the County governments and identified
that all three counties used GIS at varying levels. The NSMB Staff also contacted the
state agencies and local organizations that utilized GIS and worked to identify what data
they are developing or other similar GIS efforts.

The NSMB staff then established that meeting with the Town Boards and City Councils
was a more effective way to identify the GIS needs of each community. The NSMB
Staff then scheduled and gave presentations to the local units of government about the
capabilities of GIS and how it can benefit decision making. The elected officials were
then asked to identify needs that could be met with GIS. After the presentations the
governments were sent surveys that asked about the needs of their entity. NSMB staff
then followed up these surveys for better response and to better understand what type of
data, etc was needed. The three counties were sent similar surveys that identified how
they currently use GIS and current needs that they have.

The NSMB Staff then worked to compile the information that was gathered throughout
this process. A document was developed that identified needs that were expressed from
the local units of government and identified the current GIS efforts along the North
Shore.

RESULTS
The North Shore GIS Assessment Document will be distributed to GIS users and Data
Developers along the North Shore. This will be a unique tool that identifies the needs
and hopefully can be used for obtaining funding for local governments to develop further
their GIS efforts. It is the NSMB’s hope that further GIS projects and efforts will use this
report as a guide for future direction in developing data.
CONCLUSIONS
The process and products of the GIS Assessment were completed as planned. One bi-
product of this project that was unforeseen was the education that was included with the
presentations to the City Councils of Two Harbors, Beaver Bay, Silver Bay, Grand
Marais and the Towns of Lakewood, Duluth, and Silver Creek. Many of the elected
officials were introduced to GIS for the first time and it was a good introduction for them.
This document will continue to serve as a reference piece and will encourage future GIS
efforts.
North Shore Management Board GIS Assessment Survey
County Survey

The North Shore Management Board (NSMB) has received a grant from Minnesota’s
Lake Superior Coastal Program to identify how local governments are utilizing GIS. We
have put together a few questions that can help the NSMB identify how to pursue GIS
efforts in the future.

1. To what extent does your Government use GIS? (Circle all that apply)"
i. Everyday functions of many departments
ii. For future planning (Comprehensive, special area, etc)
iii. For re-zoning requests
iv. To track permits
v. For variance requests
vi. To track public utilities (sewer, septic systems, stormwater,
ditches, etc)
vii. To plan for transportation needs
viii. We do not use GIS
ix. Other:__________________

b. Do you see a need to acquire GIS software and training within your
government?

c. Which software system (and version?) do you currently use?

d. How many GIS users are in your government?

2. What new data would supplement decision making, including:
a. Making land use decisions
b. Approving building permits
c. Managing Lake Superior shorelines
d. Long term planning
e. Parcel/land organization

(This data could include things like: current road files, culvert locations, road
surfaces, up-to-date parcel layers, soil maps, zoning maps, land use maps, ISTS sites
impervious surface coverage, etc… Any type of information that can be portrayed on
a map.)

3. Does your government currently maintain GIS data?

a. If yes, please list data currently maintained by your government.

4. Does your government currently have GIS data sharing agreements in place with
other governments?

5. Does your government currently use GPS technology in maintaining and creating
GIS data?

6. Do you see a need for GIS and GPS training in your government?
North Shore Management Board GIS Assessment Survey
County Survey

a. If yes, please list training needed.

7. Does your government currently contract with vendors for GIS data development?

a. Does your government, obtain digital copies of the data acquired in the
contract? (i.e. GIS data, aerial photography, CADD drawings)

8. How do you see your government utilizing GIS in the future? Do you foresee a
need for further GIS usage?

9. What role can the NSMB play in helping with GIS usage?

10. Does your government currently have hard copy maps or aerial photography not
available for use in GIS? (zoning maps, utility layers, etc…)
a. If yes, would your government be interested in making those products
available for use in GIS?
b. If yes, please list maps or photography.

11. What other GIS-related comments or needs do you have?
County Survey Results

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Integrate as
parcel much as
development, Funding possible,
All utilities, opportunities coordinate
St. Louis ArcGIS
functions n/a structures, yes yes yes for LIDAR and different
County 9.2
listed zoning, hydrology, Aerial deparments,
lidar, aerial Collaborative combine data
pictometry sets and
processes
Forestry,
Sherriffs parcel data, Funding and
organization,
Lake Dept, ArcGIS aerials, culvert, data
yes n/a no no yes yes yes cartography, yes
County Planning 9.2 signage, ROW development,
analysis
and layers direction
Zoning,
All planning and
functions zoning info, soils,
Coordination
Cook listed, ArcView parcels, erosion, Deeper
yes 2 yes yes yes bi no through the yes
County except 9.2 high resolution analysis
TAC
tracking imagery,
permits structures
Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)
November 1, 2007, 10:00a.m.
Cook County Courthouse
MEETING SUMMARY

1. Welcome and Introductions
a. The group introduced themselves. Attending were: Tom Smith (City of Silver
Bay), Tim Nelson (Cook County Planning), Wayne Seidel (Cook & Lake
SWCD/ UM Extension), Clinton Little (MN DNR Waters/Coastal Program),
Wayne Dahlberg (Duluth Township Planning), and Rebecca Wiinanen (Cook
County Soil and Water)

2. NSMP Discussion
a. The NSMB was forwarded a letter from the City of Grand Marais expressing
their interest in the NSMB’s position on changing the City’s Protected
Resource Zone to Commercial zoning. The group agreed that more
information regarding the history of the zone is needed to take a more definite
position. However, the group agreed that if zoning is to be changed that the
changes should be in line with the North Shore Management Plan standards.

3. Erosion Hazard Area Planning Process Definition
a. The group discussed the background of this project and identified that a new
plan is necessary because the original language in the NSMP was used
because of high lake levels at the time was affecting the erosion differently
then current erosion processes.
b. There was also questioning regarding the use of variances to address
modifying structure setbacks and soil absorption areas. It was discussed that
allowing changes to these areas via variance is not effective because local
governments are granting variances when erosion continues to be a problem.
It was agreed that other methods should be explored; specifically
performance standards. If a property owner can scientifically show that
building placement will not increase/affect/ or be affected by zoning then
shorter setbacks could be allowed. This would provide greater protection of
the areas and prevent a plethora of variances, that are not always given equal
treatment.
c. Part of this erosion planning process could also be language development for
corrective measures that should be taken prior to setback decreases.
d. It was also the opinion of the group that the more detailed that the map
depicts these areas, the better because without legal descriptions of what
properties contain erosion hazards, enforcement becomes a problem.
e. When a map is eventually developed, a shore-wide effort should be taken.
This will help to keep the map consistent; however the different unique
qualities of the areas will need to be taken into account. It was also discussed
that future funding for map development could potentially be secured through
the Coastal Program.

4. North Shore GIS Assessment
a. The group briefly discussed the GIS Assessment and the project can now
begin as the contract with the DNR regarding the STAR grant has recently
been executed.

5. NSMB Relevancy Discussion
a. In discussing the relevance of the NSMB the group agreed that there is room
for education of the local government officials who are not informed as to what
the NSMB efforts. It was agreed that it would be helpful for the NSMB to do
some outreach to all the member entities. The importance of the NSMB as a
local voice is important and should be stressed to the local elected officials.

6. State of the Coast Conference
a. Storm water management was an issue that the group thought was
appropriate to address at the conference. Also that it would be important to
have updates from local units of government and identify what strides have
been taken lately.

The group agreed that January 3, 2008 was not a good date for the next meeting and
that it should be pushed back a week to January 10th. Meeting location will be
determined, possibly in Two Harbors area.

z Page 2
Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)
January 10, 2008: 10:00a.m.
MEETING SUMMARY

1. Welcome and Introductions
a. Attending: Brian Fredrickson, Clinton Little, Cliff Bentley, Tim Nelson, Bryan
Anderson, Brandon Kohlts, Pat Collins, Wayne Dahlberg, Wayne Seidel, Kara Kent,
Bill Vogel, Mike Roth, Dave Starks, and Ben VanTassel.

2. Erosion Hazard Area Planning Process Definition
a. NSMB Staff prepared a draft planning process for the group to review and discuss.
One concern about the erosion project process was how to effectively set boundaries
for the erosion hazard areas through this process. There was a general concern for the
level of detail that aerial photographs would show and how to accurately set
boundaries without any ground truthing (surveys, etc…). There are full sets of aerials
available for a few years, but many years only portions of the North Shore were
completed. New technologies are being used, including lydar, which provide more
detail. However this new technology would not be a means to look at historical
erosion trends. With the current technological uses and keeping fiscal constraints in
mind, the map could most likely only be used for planning purposes and shorewide
analysis. Further identification and restriction of erosion hazard areas would need to
be done, possibly by the local governments. The group will revisit this project.

3. North Shore GIS Assessment
a. An update of the GIS Assessment was given and further GIS projects were discussed.
At the next meeting NSMB Staff will prepare a document for the TAC to review.

4. NSMP and MPCA
a. The group discussed the difference between the NSMP setback of 75 feet from the
OHWL and the MPCA’s Stormwater Runoff Permit buffer of 100 feet. It was
discussed that the two efforts should have a similar goal and setback from Lake
Superior. Some possibilities discussed were having a separate permit specifically for
Lake Superior or identifying the NSMP within the permit language.

5. State of the Coast Conference
a. The group discussed several possibilities for the Conference agenda. Different topics
included; overview of major upcoming projects, Coastal Program grants overview,
Cook County stormwater efforts, innovative LID tools, economic assessments of the
area, property value trends, interactive discussions, erosion efforts, etc. NSMB Staff
will form a committee to identify further possibilities.

6. Next Meeting: The next meeting was tentatively planned for March 6th, 2008.
Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)
March 6, 2008: 10:00a.m.
MEETING SUMMARY

1. Welcome and Introductions
a. Attending: Brandon Kohlts, Sue Lawson, Matt Huddleston, Bryan Anderson, Cliff
Bentley, Mike Roth, Tim Nelson, and Ben VanTassel.

2. Innovative Planned Unit Developments Project
a. The TAC discussed what the outcomes of this project were going to be and what
should be addressed regarding the shortfalls of PUDs. A big issue was the use and
design of open space, and that there is a lot of open space that is useless and does not
have a public benefit. Also PUD’s often times don’t have long term septic
management that is regulated. Other items that the TAC suggested should be
addressed in the project is identifying a review process, addressing conservation
design, and PUD tiers.

3. North Shore GIS Assessment
a. The TAC reviewed the GIS Assessment document and gave suggestions for further
GIS resources to list, and some other changes or inclusions that needed to be made.

4. Erosion Planning Definition
a. The Erosion Document was reviewed by the TAC. The document outlined the
process for updating the erosion hazard area map. Some discussion was had that no
matter the detail of the map, sites would still need to be visited to look at additional
natural factors. It was stated that having an updated map would be very helpful for
reference in shoreland decisions. It was also mentioned that it would be helpful for
erosion rates on creeks and hillsides. The budget for the project was discussed, and it
would be hard to identify whether the product of the project would be worth the
resources needed. A scaled down project was discussed, and will be added to the
document as an alternative to the current process.

5. State of the Coast Conference
a. The conference will be May 1st and Randall Arendt will be the keynote speaker.

6. Local Issues
a. Restricting development in cities was discussed. The TAC discussed whether the
NSMB should have density standards in already fully developed areas. The
development nodes document was also discussed and the TAC questioned if there was
follow-up to this project planned.

7. Next Meeting: The next meeting was not scheduled, but will likely be in early May.