Township allows transfer of building rights

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 7/19/00.

Lonn Peterson needed three building rights for a cluster development in Eden Lake Township, and he got them from Paynesville Township when the board of supervisors granted the transfer of three building rights from the northeastern corner of Paynesville Township to the northwestern corner of Eden Lake Township.

Peterson's father-in-law, Ermin Al-brecht, was willing to give three building rights to his daughter, Ann, and Peterson, with the intention that they would eventually acquire three building rights in Eden Lake Township and return them to Albrecht's farm in Paynesville Township.

"The net result is everything would be a wash," said Peterson, who hoped to arrange the return transfer within a year, two years at the most. "It would just be like it is today."

Peterson said he had three years invested in the development and had to acquire the building rights before having a published meeting with the county.

Accompanying the Petersons and Albrecht were attorney Doug Ruhland and the board of supervisors for Eden Lake Township. That board already approved the transfer of building rights into their township with the intention of transferring three rights out at a later date. The Paynesville board was reluctant to set a precedent, since the county-wide ordinance was so new. (It went into effect in April.)

Board chairman Don Pietsch was uncomfortable with the trading of building rights. He felt the township was liberal in zoning land for development, providing all kinds of building rights within the township already. He wasn't sure that the township needed the three building rights back. "We've given an awful lot of people an awful lot of transferrable rights out there," he explained.

"I'm a little uncomfortable moving rights back," he added. "I'm a lot more comfortable moving them out."

The Paynesville Township board granted the release of three building rights, but made it clear that an effort to return them would be a separate decision, one that the board might or might not grant.

If transferring the rights back in is something the township board doesn't want to do, Peterson could acquire building rights within Paynesville Township to return to his father-in-law. After all, if he doesn't return the rights, he said it will be hard to have family dinners.

The board approved selling their snowplow and contracting for snowplowing with David Voss, Paynesville. Voss, who was the only bidder for the township snowplowing contract, agreed to purchase the township's plow for $29,000. The township will pay him a $5,000 retainer in the fall and $60 per hour for snowplowing.

Voss and the supervisors agreed that too much plowing is better than too little. "We want our roads well plowed, well sanded, well maintained," said Pietsch. "We understand that has a cost."

Voss assured the township that he would provide quality service. He likes to have his drivers start to plow before a storm finishes. He has heavy equipment to assist the plow with massive accumulations of snow.

With the recent acquisition of County Road 124, the township has a little more than 47 miles of roads to plow. "That truck is not going to do anything else," Voss said. "With two operators, they're going to want to plow."

Main arteries like County Road 124, NW Koronis Road, and Cyrilla Beach Road would be given priority, according to Voss, who said he would publish the operators' cell phone number so people who needed plowing could get prompt service.

The board also discussed renting a stall in their maintenance shed to Voss to store the plow.

Other business
•The township also discussed the status of township roads that were currently not being served by the township. After doing research at the county, Piestch determined that Cushing Road, 160 feet of road to the Linus Nistler residence, and part of the road to Sandy Point Park on the south side of the lake were definitely township roads.

He also determined that Chippendale Road is not a township road, but found no conclusive evidence for Crowncrest Road. Additional roads (Crystal and Brookhaven) were raised as possible township roads. The board intends to provide services to roads that are theirs, but needs to do more research to find all the roads that are in question.

•The board approved a variance request from Brad Johnson to put lawn sprinklers in the township's road right of way. Johnson, who is building a new home in the township, wanted to be able to water grass up to the road to make it look nice. After an inspection, the township approved the request but reminded Johnson that the township would not be responsible for any damage to the sprinklers in its right of way.

•The board approved a lease agreement with the Paynesville-New London-Spicer Hockey Association for the ice arena. The township and the association have worked cooperatively for several years with the Koronis Civic Arena. This is their first written agreement.

•After using a shouldering disc and finding it helped maintain road shoulders, the supervisors reversed course and decided that buying the machine would be a worthwhile investment.

In May, the board decided to rent the machine instead of purchasing it.

Supervisor John Atwood recommended the change after inspecting the roads and seeing how much the township had used it. "I think we should keep it here," Atwood said. "I think we should make an investment."

Supervisor Warren Nehring, who always was in favor of buying the disc, said it helped the township save the gravel along the roads. "It's unbelievable how much is in the ditch," he said.

The shouldering disc will cost $4,500. The rent will be applied to the purchase price.

•The board directed Mike Jensen, the township's part-time maintenance worker, to get quotes on rebuilding the shoulders on Desmond and Dolphin roads, as well as for a new culvert in that area.

•The township expects to have their revised ordinance in hand at their next meeting on Monday, July 24.

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