In 2008 Dan and Melissa Benoit purchased the motel now known as the Cedar Lodge in hopes of restoring the first hotel in Thief River Falls, MN. The motel is located in the north end of Thief River Falls. As businesses are rapidly growing on highway 59, the north-end of town isn't as busy as it used to be. The Benoits goal is to bring the north-end of town back to life. It started when the city wouldn't allow the Benoit's to fill out an application for a permit to build the gazebo in 2011. Dan had put 3 pillars up, the city engineer stopped by while Dan was working on it and told him to move it back 3 ft in order to be off city property so Dan complied and moved the pillars 3 feet back. It wasn't until awhile after Dan had already finished building the gazebo that the city planner changed his mind and told Dan that he needed to move the gazebo an additional 12 ft back which would place the gazebo in the middle of the parking lot of the Cedar Lodge. The city put a stop work order up on the gazebo a few months after he had finished building it in 2012. During the fall of 2012 Dan spoke with the city planner who told him that he would send the city engineer to look over the gazebo to insure that it was structurally sound, he noted that it was. The city didn't send the Benoits any paperwork nor did they contact the Benoits after the engineer inspected the gazebo. Assuming everything had worked out, Dan made a patio using pavers and installed lighting features in between the pavers of the gazebo. Dan did not continue working on the gazebo itself after the work order was taped to the gazebo because it had already been built. Dan hadn't heard anything back from the city for over a year until last month... The city is now claiming that part of their reasoning for removing the gazebo is because they claim Dan worked on the gazebo after they placed the stop work order which is simply untrue. He did install a patio and lighting features but did not work on the gazebo as it was already finished by the time the stop work order was placed on it. Please note that there are at least 30 other residents and businesses in our community who are not up to code according to the rules and statutes for Pennington county (evolving as they seem fit by the city planner). The Benoits wish to be treated fairly like everyone else. They enjoy owning a business in Thief River Falls and have felt welcomed by their neighbors and other businesses in the community. They have received numerous compliments from their neighbors in the community and visitors regarding the new renovations including the gazebo and landscaping. The Cedar Lodge doesn't have a pool or continental breakfast (yet) so the gazebo is one of their main attractions. Unfortunately last month the Benoits were served papers by the local sheriff from the City of Thief River Falls stating that the Benoits need to remove the gazebo by March 31, 2014, if the Benoits do not remove the gazebo, the City of Thief River Falls will destroy it and will charge the Benoits for the costs associated with removing the gazebo. Our goal is to make the Cedar Lodge an affordable and comfortable motel where people can sit under the cool, shade of the gazebo, BBQ and relax on warm days. We have made it our mission to make feel our guests feel comfortable and welcome when they stay with us. The Cedar Lodge was featured in the 2014 Thief River Falls Visitors Guide with a photo of the Benoits sitting underneath the gazebo. Melissa and Dan are asking for your support to keep the gazebo standing at the Cedar Lodge by signing this petition.
- Building Official
The City of Thief River Falls, MN
Please allow the Cedar Lodge to keep their gazebo.
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