Township alters zoning ordinance

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 5/3/00.

Developers in Paynesville Township now will need to abide by the new county-wide zoning ordinance. The township board of supervisors changed its ordinance on Monday, April 24, to adopt the new county zoning ordinance by reference. "What we're really saying is we are enforcing their ordinance as well as our own," explained supervisor Don Pietsch.

The board also approved making the township's ordinance stricter than the county's in one case. The township limited lots to be two acres in size, instead of allowing one acre lots like the county.

Paynesville Township will send a copy of the new county zoning ordinance to the attorney, who wrote much of their current ordinance. She will help the township revise their ordinances to encompass the county's requirements.

The township's goal is to be as restrictive or more restrictive than the county, whereby the permitting process, except for septic systems and flood plain requirements, will be done locally. "When you get your permit here, we don't want you to go to St. Cloud and not have it fly," said Pietsch.

One result of this will be more work for the township in issuing building and site permits. The new county forms are longer and require greater accuracy.

A discussion about whether the township should raise its fees to accommodate the greater expense in time led to an argument between supervisors John Atwood and Warren Nehring. Atwood was upset to learn that Nehring, who handles permits for the township, charged a flat fee of $10 per permit. Atwood said supervisors should report their time and mileage for reimbursement.

Nehring received permission from the board to charge the flat fee a couple years ago, he and Pietsch said. The arrangement enables him to fit inspections into his work schedule and saves him from having to make special trips to sites at the township's expense. He does not charge mileage.

Atwood and audience members criticized the deal since a 15-minute inspection means a $40 per hour reimbursement. Nehring countered that some inspections do take just one visit, but they are balanced by inspections that take multiple visits and hours of time.

Pietsch eventually interrupted the argument. A decision about the permit fees could wait to see how much time the new permit system requires.

Road policy
The township board also formalized its policy toward roads in new developments. As discussed previously, the costs of roads in new plats will be borne by the developer. The township will take over the road and provide services like snowplowing when the road is paved to certain specifications. This conforms with the county policy.

In the past, the township would accept an unpaved road that had its dirt work done to certain specifications. That policy was meant to encourage development, Atwood said. Now, with lots of development expected, the township wants the people who benefit from a road to pay for it.

For plats of record that have not been developed yet, the township will split the costs of paving the road with the developer. This policy was decided on previously. A new requirement is that the paving must be done before any lots are sold and before any houses are built. Once development has started, the township will not split the costs.

Part-time maintenance
Mike Jensen has been hired by the board to do maintenance work in the township on a part-time basis. Jensen, who works full-time at another job, will be mowing ditches and cutting down trees this summer as needed.

The board also approved purchasing a used four-wheel drive truck for maintenance work. The 1985 S-10 cost $2,000.

The board approved getting quotes for a chain saw.

Unlicensed cars
Residents who have motorhomes, unlicensed vehicles, or miscellaneous machinery parked in their front yards can expect a letter from the township in the next few months. The supervisors identified 12 violations of their ordinance during their recent road inspection. Motorhomes, for instance, cannot be used as a second residence and must be stored to the side or in back of a house.

The supervisors authorized a letter to be drafted, but did not decide whether to mail it or deliver it by hand. "I would rather just send it," said Pietsch, "but it may be more effective to go out there."

Other business
•The board approved a pull tab license for the Crow River Trail Guards at Koronis Hills Golf Club.

•An agreement with the county on acquiring County Road 124 is still being finalized. The amount the county will pay the township for upgrading and maintenance will be $392,000, not $292,000 as previously reported.

•The Rustic Road signs have arrived. The township board approved a number of roads for the designation, pending their traffic counts, which must be under 150 per day. The board also approved purchasing more sign posts.

•The board had a discussion about selling the township's snowplow and contracting for snowplowing.

•The board decided its tractor would mow only township ditches, and would not be available to mow private ditches while making its rounds in the township.

•The township board approved joining the Paynesville Area Chamber of Commerce. The annual fee is $25.

•The hazardous waste cleanup will be held from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 6, for city and township residents. The collection site will be in the high school parking lot.

•Follow-up on the township's equilization hearing was held on Thursday, April 27. Fifteen residents had concerns about their taxes, and the county assessor's office looked into eight cases.

Return to Archives