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Rezoning recommended for former motel property

Fri, Jan 17th, 2014
Posted in All Government

The Planning Commission at their first meeting in 2014 reelected Gary Ruskell as board chairman and elected Steven Duxbury as vice-chairman.

Todd and Amy Soiney, Section 26 Canton Township, had requested that their property that had been the motel near the state line be rezoned from B1(commercial) to R1 (single and two family residential). The R1 zone includes multiple family dwellings for any number of families. The use as a multiple family dwelling also requires a conditional use permit which had been applied for.

Todd Soiney explained that they wanted to turn the former motel into a six residential apartment unit.

Duane Bakke agreed this use is in accordance with the zoning ordinance as it is written today. However, the intent of the ordinance is to avoid spot zoning and to limit housing in a rural area. He went on to say that we may want to get rid of some of the loopholes in the county ordinance regulating the non-municipality area.

There were no comments from the public at the hearing. The commission recommended to the county board that the zoning for the property be changed to R-1.

A second public hearing was held on the application for a CUP for the multi-family dwelling. There was agreement that in the future the commission should wait until the county board has a chance to vote on the zoning change first before considering the CUP. Because there had been a precedent for doing both before the county board made a decision on the first, the commission went ahead on this request this last time.

Soiney said the units would be one bedroom apartments except for one which could be a two bedroom. Zoning administrator Chris Graves said the well and septic are up to date. The septic is sized for seven bedrooms.

Ruskell asked what is the difference between an extended stay motel and an apartment? A motel needs to approved by the Minnesota Department of Health and usually is a short stay. Bakke noted that people renting an apartment use it as a permanent address where they wouldn’t if they were in a motel.

Bakke noted that both the county attorney and the sheriff had reservations about the property use as apartments because of the illegal use involving drugs in the past. The property has since changed ownership.

Because of the past illegal activity on the property, three conditions were recommended to be added to the CUP. The conditions include an immediate eviction of anyone found to be using, selling, or manufacturing drugs. Second, the permit limits the facility to six units. Third, there can be no more than seven bedrooms total. Bakke explained the conditions will alleviate concerns from other county departments.

The commission recommended approval with the three conditions.

Feedlot discussion

Feedlot officer Mike Frauenkron said the feedlot ordinance was last updated in 2003. He had several recommendations to put it more in line with state rules. Many of the changes discussed were language changes.

A suggestion to require contractors of feedlots to have proof of a surety bond spawned considerable discussion. Bakke maintained the requirement should be limited to the construction of the actual manure storage and not include other parts of a feedlot like fencing or buildings.

Frauenkron suggested raising the threshold from 500 to 999 animal units that requires a CUP. The 999 animal unit threshold is where a federal permit is required. He explained everything on those under 999 units would be as it is now except for the CUP requirement. He suggested keeping the maximum capacity for any feedlot at 2,000 animal units.

Feedlot setbacks were discussed, as was the possibility of requiring an expansion of a feedlot to be within the original feedlot footprint. Frauenkron suggested raising the animal units to 299 before the 1,000 foot setback from a dwelling is required.

All the proposed changes were only discussed. There will need to be a public hearing before any changes can be approved. More discussion on the proposed changes is planned for the next meeting.

Water Bottling Ordinance to Public Hearing in February

Gerald Payne, representing Artesian Well, Inc., requested a change in the ordinance limit that only allows for 2,500 gallons to be bottled per day. He requested that it be changed to a limit of 9,500 gallons/day so they may stay competitive and be able to supply large vendors. With their expansion they would hire an additional four to six full time employees enabling them to run two bottling lines per day instead of one.

The state does require a water appropriation permit if more than 10,000 gallons were bottled per day or more than 1 million gallons per year. The well is almost 400 feet deep and in the Galena aquifer. The well flows about 250 GPM (gallons per minute) naturally.

Payne noted that the demand varies by season and is high starting in April. They only bottle four days per week now. Only about 1,000 gallons per day are bottled in the winter.

The commission voted to go to public hearing next month, February 20, for an amendment to the ordinance which would eliminate the limits. There still would be the state requirement for a water appropriation permit should they go over 10,000 gallons per day or one million gallons per year.

Board of Adjustment

Steven Duxbury was elected chairman and Brad Erickson was elected vice-chairman. An application for a variance was postponed by the applicant.

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