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Paynesville Press - January 26, 2005

Meeker County approves Union Grove plat

By Michael Jacobson

The Meeker County Board of Supervisors approved a preliminary plat for Indian Hills, a 30-acre, nine-lot development in Union Grove Township on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

The plat, at the center of a zoning dispute last fall, had previously been approved by the Meeker County Planning Commission on Thursday, Jan. 13.

Local developer Dan Binsfeld proposed the Indian Hills plat, located southwest of the intersection of Highway 4 and CSAH 20 in Union Grove Township, last fall, but opposition to the plat surfaced when the 30-acre property was rezoned as R-2.

The Union Grove Township Board of Supervisors passed an interim ordinance in October 2004 that prohibits new subdivisions in the township (unless the lots are five acres in size or larger); new junk yards or salvage yards (with more than six unlicensed vehicles); any industrial facility for the storage of hazardous waste or the demolition of any waste; any tire recycling facility (capable of processing more than one ton of tires per day); and new commercial gravel pits or rock quarries (exceeding 20 acres in size).

indian hills This prohibition on platting (unless lots were five acres in size) stalled Binsfeld's plat before getting county approval last fall. At a township public hearing in November, Binsfeld stated that he felt the interim ordinance targeted his development.

The Meeker County Board of Commissioners approved a preliminary plat for Indian Hills, a 30-acre, nine-lot development in Union Grove Township, located near the intersection of Highway 4 and CSAH 20, last week.

The Union Grove Township Board of Supervisors - contrary to earlier reporting by the Press -╩passed a resolution at their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 14, that exempted Binsfeld's proposed development from the interim ordinance. The resolution cited Binsfeld's steps towards establishing a residential development in the township prior to the interim ordinance and the unique circumstances surrounding his proposed plat in concluding that the interim ordinance did not apply to it.

Indian Hills, as proposed in the preliminary plat, would have nine lots, ranging in size from 2.29 acres (for the existing residence) to between 2.89 acres and 3.36 acres for the eight new lots. All eight new lots would have access to Highway 4 via a new road called Indian Hills Drive.

The preliminary plat for Indian Hills includes a stormwater plan with three temporary retention basins for surface runoff.

The proposed development prompted concerns among Union Grove officials and residents about the pace and extent of development in the township and how zoning regulations could help the township preserve its "rural character."

In December, township officials and concerned residents expressed fear that the county rezoning standard - anything touching R-2 can be rezoned as R-2 - could lead to widescale development in the township. The interim zoning ordinance was meant to give the township board -╩which has not been active in zoning so far, leaving this responsibility to Meeker County - time to research zoning options and work with the county to address some of the local concerns.

The interim zoning ordinance for Union Grove Township lasts until September 2005, but it could be lifted earlier or extended by the township board.



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