Township board hears ordinance dispute

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 12/20/00.

The board of supervisors for Paynesville Township spent most of their meeting on Monday, Dec. 11, wrangling with an ordinance violation.

Sue Johnson, who owns a cabin on Lake Koronis, expressed frustration at having to deal with a snafu of township and county ordinances that have inhibited her remodeling project.

A larger than permitted garage was erected on the property, which put it in violation of the township's ordinance that limits accessory buildings to 900 sq. ft. for lots of five acres and less.

The board gave Johnson three options: (1) to remove an existing accessory building that would put the lot in compliance with the ordinance; (2) to request a variance for the garage; (3) to leave the lot out of compliance and prompt legal action from the township.

Johnson said she intended to remove the existing accessory building when the cabin was remodeled, but that the remodeling was on hold due to county regulations. She also expressed reservations about applying for another variance, saying she already had gotten four for the project from the township and the county.

The board left Johnson to decide between the three options.

Board supervisor Don Pietsch said he had talked with the county who assured him that the local solution would be respected by the county.

The township had been working to revise its ordinance to get it in line with the county in order to avoid situations like this where a property owner is caught between the two ordinances.

This was supposed to have been accomplished last summer, but the county is now revising portions of its ordinance, putting negotiations on hold.

Johnson said the county ordinance had changed at least three times in the year since she started the project at her cabin.

Other business
•Paul Osborne of the Paynesville Area Jaycees presented a donation request for the Fourth of July fireworks on Lake Koronis. The board listened to Osborne but made no decision as all donation requests are handled in March.

Paynesville Township donated $500 last year. The deadline for donation requests was Dec. 15.

•The board passed on a proposal from the school to improve the ball fields used by the summer recreation program. The township has participated in funding summer recreation's operating costs, and the board indicated their willingness to continue to do that.

•The board instructed supervisor Warren Nehring to continue to look for road specifications for widening Old Lake Road (formerly County Road 124). The township plans to widen and fill unstable sections of the road next summer. The specifications are needed for bidding.

•To avoid Christmas, the board's next meeting will be moved to Tuesday, Dec. 26.

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