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Sunfish Lake

City of Sunfish Lake

Sunfish Lake is a village in Dakota County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 521 at the 2010 census. First incorporated as a village in 1958, the city’s goal has been to maintain a rural atmosphere, with large lot size and as little disturbance of the natural environment as possible.

Geography and Native Vegetation
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.69 square miles (4.38 km2), of which 1.52 square miles (3.94 km2) is land and 0.17 square miles (0.44 km2) is water.

The city is bordered by Highways 62 to the north, 3 to the east, 60th Street West/Peiper Road to the south and Delaware Avenue to the west. I-494 runs through the city with an exit at 3.

Native vegetation based on NRCS soils information shows approximately two thirds forest soils (light blue, green and dark green), less than 10% savanna soils (red and red with blue stripes) and about 20% prairie (yellow) and wet prairie (light yellow). Most of the city is heavily wooded, on moraine topography with many slopes and wetlands and three small private lakes – Hornbeam Lake, Horseshoe Lake, and the eponymous Sunfish Lake, which was formerly known as Lake Thereau by the early French settlers of the area. For new construction, the minimum lot size is 2.5 acres (10,000 m2) of buildable land to keep with the city’s goal of maintaining a rural atmosphere.

Notable people

  • Corbin Lacina, former American football player
  • Priscilla Lord Faris, Democratic politician
  • Vince Flynn, author
  • Joe Mauer, former baseball player for the Minnesota Twins
  • Mike McFadden, Republican politician
  • T.J. Oshie, professional hockey player.

Sunfish Lake is a small residential community – area 1.7 square miles, population 525 (est.) – located 5 miles due south of St. Paul, Minnesota. With the exception of four churches, the entire city is zoned single-family residential. There is no commercial development.

First incorporated as a village in 1958, the consistent goal of city government has been to maintain a rural atmosphere, with large lot size and as little disturbance of the natural environment as possible. For new construction, the minimum lot size is 2.5 acres of buildable land. Most of the city is heavily wooded, on moraine topography with many slopes and wetlands and three small private lakes.

City government is disarmingly simple – there are no city employees and no direct city services. The only city properties are a parcel donated for a city hall ( for which there is no need); undeveloped Harmon park; and the recent extremely generous gift of 22 acres of parkland donated by the late Betty Musser. The latter will be kept in its natural state in perpetuity through a conservation easement with the Minnesota Land Trust. (See article on News Page). An array of consultants provides the necessary professional services.

Contractual arrangements with neighboring cities cover police and fire protection. Roads are maintained by independent contractors. All but a few properties have water wells and individual septic systems. The city budget averages around $300,000, mainly derived from local property taxes. Around 40% of the budget goes for police and fire protection.

Although surrounding communities are undergoing intense development, the Metropolitan Council has approved our Comprehensive Plan of maintaining this island of green space, hopefully in perpetuity.

References:

“Sunfish Lake, Minnesota” │ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunfish_Lake,_Minnesota

“About Sunfish Lake” │ https://www.sunfishlake.org/about

“Caring for our Environment” │ https://www.sunfishlake.org/environment

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