Township may ease ordinance restrictions on accessory buildings

This article submitted by Peter and Michael Jacobson on 3/14/01.

A recent string of variance requests has caused the Paynesville Township Board to consider loosening their zoning ordinance. The board denied a variance request on Monday, Feb. 26, but approved one on Monday, March 12.

The current board has stressed that exceptions to the ordinance need to be done with caution, else a precedent of ignoring the ordinance be set. The requests for variances on building size, though, might indicate a need for looser restrictions.

On Monday night, the board also set a public hearing to review its zoning ordinance and possibly make some changes.

One change could be to loosen the requirements for accessory buildings. The current township ordinance allows for a 900-square foot, unattached building on any lot that is two acres in size.

For ten acre lots, the township allows 1,200-square foot, unattached buildings. Each additional acre beyond ten allows an additional 120 square feet to be added to the building.

The board could leave the 900 square foot maximum on two acre lots, but give the additional 120 square feet for every additional acre. That means a three-acre lot could have a 1,020-sq. ft. building, four acres 1,140, five acres 1,260, etc.

With such a change, Cush Minar - whose variance request was denied on Monday, Feb. 26 - would no longer need a variance to build an 1,800-sq. ft. storage building on an 11-acre parcel along Old Lake Road.

The current township ordinance would have allowed Minar to build a 1,320-square foot building, thus his need for a variance.

Minar's variance was questioned by Mary Hahn, who also owns land around Kruger's Pond. Hahn expressed concern about the position of the building and its closeness to the lake. She is concerned about the effect on water quality, as the pond empties into Lake Koronis, and also about the aesthetics of a large building close to the water.

Minar planned to put his building 200 feet from the shoreline of the pond. The current township ordinance allows buildings within 150 feet of an environmental lake. The county distance is 200 feet.

On Monday, the board approved another variance request by Tony Bengtson, who wanted to build a 2,400-sq. ft. building on his 17-acre property. The ordinance currently allows for a 2,040-sq. ft. building on his property.

A condition on his permit, though, is the removal of four existing buildings, which Bengtson said needs to be done before construction anyway. These buildings currently have a capacity of 2,272-sq. ft.

The public hearing could address this proposed change, as well as other ordinance changes. The township wantss to get its zoning ordinance as strict as the county's, so residents will be able to get permits with one stop.

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