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Paynesville Press - July 7, 2004

Township considers summer road closing

By Michael Jaccobson

The Paynesville Township Board of Supervisors took the following actions at their meeting on Monday, June 28.

*The board set a public hearing on a proposal to close a section of Lake Koronis Road during the summer for Monday, July 26, at 8:15 p.m.

This change was requested by a 40-signature petition, organized by Roger Bagley. Their proposal is to close Lake Koronis Road to through traffic from Crosswood Road to Old Lake Road. This section of the road is narrow and during the summer gets lots of foot traffic, both walking along the road and crossing it.

Closing the road to through traffic would improve safety, according to the petition. To close the road to through traffic, from May 1 to October 1 as requested by the petition, the township could erect a barricade on one end of the road, which would reroute through traffic while still allowing pedestrian traffic and allowing local property owners access to their properties.

The township board will hear opinions, pro and con, at the public hearing on Monday, July 26.

*The board held a public hearing on zoning changes, requested by the Koronis Lake Association (KLA), who had a half dozen members at the meeting. KLA president Peter Jacobson, also publisher of the Paynesville Press, explained the association's concern of improving water quality in the lake and how stormwater runoff can negatively affect water quality. Consequently, KLA is concerned about the density of development in the township, especially around Lake Koronis.

While the KLA members and the township board agreed that the current zoning would remain in effect (A40, T20, R20, R10, R5, etc.), they shared concern over the combination of clustering and transferring of building rights, which could significantly increase the amount of development around Lake Koronis. (The township board set the zoning areas, and then the county added clustering and transferring building rights.)

Right now, the county is studying its zoning ordinance and has a moratorium on clustering, transferring, and its wetland calculation. Once the county decides on its zoning changes - possibilities such as lowering the lot size for clustering and requiring them to be contiguous, allowing the transfer of building rights, and whether or not to use wetlands in calculations for building rights - the township board will need to decide if it will use the county limits or make requirements in Paynesville Township stricter.

*The board tabled a proposal to add an attachment to site permits listing contractors and reminding them to abide by the seven-ton road limits on township roads.

Township resident, and contractor, Jim Gabrielson questioned the seven-ton limit, thinking it only applied in the spring, but the board thought that limit applied to its roads throughout the year. That limit, said Gabrielson, would require contractors to lighten loads and would be especially problematic in transporting heavy equipment to construction sites.

The township concern, on the other hand, is that new roads can be damaged by heavy loads, leaving the township with the burden of fixing the roads.

The board tabled action on the proposal until Monday, July 12.

*The board approved a variance for Grover Sayre III to relocate his garage. Sayre wants to move his garage away from Breezewood Road and attach it to his cabin, but even after moving the garage it would still be too close to the road right-of-way. The township ordinance requires a 63-foot setback, and the new location of the garage would only be 48 feet away from Breezewood Road.

Sayre, the only person to speak at the public hearing, said moving the garage was the best solution as it got the garage further away from the road and would allow him to improve his property.

Sayre still needs to get approval for his project from the county. If the county rejects his plan, the garage would need to stay in its current location and Sayre would need to remove the second story, started without a permit, as the township does not allow more than one residence per lot. If the garage is attached to his cabin, the second bedroom over the garage could stay. *The board approved a variance for Jim and Louise Gabrielson to attach their garage to their house. Their house is located 13 feet from the property line. For an unattached garage, the setback requirement is only 10 feet, but for an attached garage the setback is 20 feet, making a variance necessary.

*The board set a public hearing on vacating some old roadways in the Koronis Park Revised Plat on Monday, July 12, at 8:30 p.m.

*The board set a public hearing for Val Theis for a setback variance he needs to move his garage on Monday, July 26, at 8:30 p.m.

*The board set a public hearing to change its ordinance to reflect the township's current policy on tarring roads for Monday, July 26, at 8:40 p.m. The township requires developers to improve platted roads and alleys to the township's specifications before the township will take over the road, with the developer bearing the cost. The township also requires developers or residents (in plats that where development has occurred) to improve existing platted roads to the township's specs before accepting them.

In plats where development has not occurred (meaning all empty lots), the developer or property owners are still under the obligation to bring the road to the township's specs, but the town board may, at the board's discretion, approve paying for half of the tar.

The public hearing is necessary to change the township ordinance to the current township practice. *The board set a public hearing for Bud McMillon for a variance on accessory building size for Monday, July 26, at 8:50 p.m.

*The board appointed Harry Thielen to serve on a joint city-township committee looking at developing a nature park around Kruger's Pond.

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