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Paynesville Press - July 19, 2006

Township learns more funding coming for trail

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Township Board of Supervisors took the following actions at their meeting on Monday, July 10.

*The board was informed by chairman Don Pietsch that the Lake Koronis Recreational Trail has been recommended to receive $400,000 in funds from the District 8 Area Transportation Partnership in 2010 to complete the trail section from Highway 55 and Highway 4 to the south side of Lake Koronis.

*The board discussed permitting requirements with township resident Ashlee Anderson, whose husband Neil operates a building-moving business and has a need to store houses between moves. But having more than one house on a property violates the county and township zoning ordinance.

Anderson was told that they would need to secure a conditional-use permit for either a "limited rural business" or a "home extended business," as defined in the ordinance, to come into compliance with the ordinance.

The board gave the Andersons until their next meeting to decide how to proceed. If they choose to pursue a conditional-use permit, a public hearing on the matter would be held in August.

*The board received an update on law changes affecting township governments from Rep. Larry Hosch (DFL-St. Joseph). Hosch highlighted changes to parkland dedication (which must go to a park budget or be spent according to a park plan), liability limit for joint powers, and allowing townships to piggyback onto county road projects within the township.

The most significant topics were eminent domain and annexation. For eminent domain, local governments can continue to use it for public projects but the definitions of "blight" - costing 50 percent to fix up - and environmentally polluted - to be 50 percent of the surface area - were more strictly defined. Attorney's fees for landowners may be awarded if the final price is 20-40 percent greater than the initial offer, while such fees are required if the final price is more than 40 percent greater than the original offer.

Only small changes were made to annexation this session, reported Hosch, but a task force was created to research the issue and report back to the legislature. This issue attracts great interest from lobbyists, on both sides, said Hosch, which made even the small changes a "long, excrutiating process."

*The board approved variances for Muriel Lorentzen, who owns a residence on Lake Koronis in Section 32, to build an unattached 1,200-sq. ft. building. The building exceeds the township ordinance for size by 300 sq. ft. and sits 30 feet from the centerline of an easement road, while the township requires a 63-foot setback. The variances were for 300 sq. ft. in size and 33 feet in setback.

*The board was also informed by Pietsch that the township, as the governing body of the community septic system for Crow River Heights Plat, will need to estalish maintenance costs, a capital reserve (to fund future replacement needs), and fees to cover all these costs.

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