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Paynesville Press - Feb. 5, 2003

Eden Lake Township approves zoning ordinance

By Jennifer E. Johnson

Developers in Eden Lake Township will be able to plat land again, beginning in March, when a new township zoning ordinance takes effect, ending a 19-month moratorium on platting.

On Thursday, Jan. 23, the Eden Lake Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the adoption of the Eden Lake Land Use and Zoning Ordinance. After a two-year process, the ordinance will be signed - subject to minor changes - in February and should take effect on March 1.

With the new ordinance, Eden Lake Township adopts the county-wide ordinance in effect in Stearns County since April 2000. The township will adhere to the county ordinance except where they've opted for more restrictive provisions. The new ordinance supercedes the previous township zoning ordinance, in place since October 1999.

Securing a zoning permit will remain a two-fold approval process. With the exception of septic, wetland, and shoreland, all permits will go to the township planning and zoning board first to ensure adherence to township standards. Once the permit is reviewed and approved at the township level, it must be filed by mail or in person with the county office.

Stearns County will issue all permits and send copies to the township.

After a permit is issued, Stearns County will enforce their ordinance standards, and the township will enforce only its stricter requirements. Infractions committed knowingly to the ordinance could result in misdemeanor charges, and if convicted either a maximum $1,000 fine or up to 90 days in jail or both.

The township will retain the current planning and zoning board members: Sonny Thielen, Art Holdvogt, and Dave Knutson.

The Stearns County Planning Commission will conduct any hearings regarding variances; interim uses; rezoning; conditional uses; and ordinance amendments.

All hearings regarding the township's more restrictive zoning requirements, listed below, will be held in Eden Lake Township:

  • Residential units must be at least 800 square feet, must have a width of at least 24 feet, and must be placed on a foundation.

  • Minimum lot requirements for a single family dwelling will be 80,000 square feet with an approved individual sewage system and 40,000 square feet for a single family dwelling with an approved community sewage system.

  • For uses other than residential,the lot size must be sufficient to meet setback and sewage treatment standards. The minimum lot depth is 150 feet, and the minimum lot width is 150 feet.

  • To qualify for a clustering bonus the property must be eligible for at least two residential dwellings and must have lots at least 80,000 square feet in size but not more than two acres. The township density bonus is reduced to 25 percent rather than the county bonus of 50 percent.

  • Residential properties within 1,000 feet of a lake and 300 feet of a river or stream are allowed two accessory buildings with a cumulative area and sidewall height dependent on lot size. For lots less than an acre in size, the maximum building area is 900 square feet and the maximum sidewall height is 10 feet. For lots greater than an acre but less than two acres, the maximum building area is 1,200 square feet and maximum sidewall height is 12 feet. For lots two acres or more, the maximum building area is 1,200 square feet and the maximum sidewall height is 12 feet. In addition, lots greater than two acres are allowed 150 square feet for each incremental acre with a maximum area of 1,500 square feet.

  • Residential accessory structures over 1,500 square feet must be located at least 1,000 feet from a lake and 300 feet from a river or stream.

  • Storage sheds within 1,000 feet of a lake and 300 feet of a river or stream and within 30-75 feet from the ordinary high water mark must be: 100 square feet or less; on a concrete foundation; 10 feet from all lot lines; not over eight feet high; and blend into the shoreline with vegetative cover. These sheds cannot be used to store fuel, insecticides, herbicides, or any other toxic material.
  • Guest cottages are prohibited.

  • All driveways that connect to a township road must secure a permit; in addition driveways within a cluster development may be need to be shared.

  • All modular or manufactured housing must be built and located in compliance with Minnesota statutes.

  • All modular or manufactured housing to be located in a residential district must be ten years old or newer. Exceptions will be made on a case by case basis with an interim use permit if the unit is in good condition.

  • Transfer of residential development rights is prohibited from one township to another unless the property is contiguous and owned by a single individual or entity. In this ordinance, tracts separated by a public road aren't considered contiguous.

  • All lots or parcels of record - on or prior to the effective date of the ordinance - do not have to conform to the new zoning ordinance if they were compliant at the time the ordinance was recorded, if setbacks are met, and if they meet the applicable sewage treatment standards.

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