The city of Peterson’s Planning and Zoning Board has spent the last several years reviewing the zoning code and ordinances. At the Wednesday, May 10 council meeting, Zoning Board member Karlin Symons presented some changes to the council.
In regards to conditional use permits, Symons indicated that the permits are issued based on the request so long as it meets code and that it must be used for that purpose. The length of time to process a request and the cost of the permit were also discussed. “It has to come to planning and zoning first. It should not be a complicated process,” noted Symons.
“If they have their ducks in a row, it shouldn’t take more than 30 days,” suggested Councilor Loren Rue, who is also on the board.
Mayor Tim Hallum indicated that at a maximum, 60 days should be sufficient, assuming there is cooperation from the property owners. He also indicated that costs should be restructured and that a break down needs to be made. Currently, a Conditional Use Permit is a $400 permit fee.
“In light of the new zoning code, it’s good time to look at the fee schedule,” agreed Symons.
Clerk Chris Grindland will review permit uses and aim to determine a new rate structure. He will present his findings at the June council meeting. It was also approved to appoint Grindland the city’s zoning administrator.
Councilor Rue also touched on an upcoming review of properties to ensure they are not in violation of city ordinances. In 2016 a number of properties were out of compliance and the city issued letters to the property owners with direction to bring the properties into compliance prior to any other type of city action. Rue and Grindland will conduct the reviews and document those out of ordinance compliance. They will identify to council by property parcel only. The council will decide what action is taken, if any, at the June meeting.
Related to ordinances, the city will be moving forward with drafting legal papers for an unresolved issue with property owner Gary Quarve. “Nothing has been taken care of since the beginning of the year,” said Mayor Hallum. “Do we move to legal action and move on with this?”
Councilor Gail Boyum indicated that the Quarves would be responsible for legal costs, should the city be proven correct. “I believe we’re correct in our ordinances,” she added, also noting legal counsel has reviewed the ordinance issue.
“This issue has been on our agenda for many months and the party has been given every opportunity to respond,” added Councilor Rue. The council approved the measure unanimously.
In other news, the city is hoping to add two new benches and some trees around the playground area that was finished in the city park last year. Councilor Gail Boyum initially suggested the city use some of the $7,000 in the campground fund. However, Mayor Tim Hallum noted the sizeable park was able to be secured at no cost to the city. “We should be able to buy a couple of benches and trees out of the general fund.”
Councilor Loren Rue suggested the city seek price quotes on the benches and trees and then make a determination on where the funding would come from. A motion to seek quotes, with a not to exceed cost of $2,500, was made by Councilor Dave Colbenson, seconded by Boyum, and passed unanimously.
An annual audit from Engleson & Associates has been tabled until the June council meeting. The purpose is to give Clerk Grindland time to review the audit and address any questions from the city.
Electric rates from MiEnergy to the city have dropped just slightly. The city will watch the fund to see how it performs over the next few months.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Wednesday, June 14, at 6 p.m., at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.