The Becker Township Board met Monday evening, cruising through a smaller than usual agenda in just under one hour.
During the open forum portion of the meeting, three residents approached the township and spoke on behalf of the Co. Rd. 93 Coalition. According to Ron and Mary Kay Hirsch and Justin Hoffman, there are 62 residents who belong to the group and they have been collectively working to lobby Sherburne County to modify a planned roadway reconstruction on a 1.6 mile portion of the road, starting at Co. Rd. 24 and going to Co. Rd. 16.
The group formed in early 2019 in response to Sherburne County’s plans to widen the roadway and establish a new right-of-way line through the use of Eminent Domain. The current road has a 66 foot right-of-way footprint, but the county’s new road standards call for a total of 100 feet. This would lead to widening the ditch areas and removing a large number of trees, a plan that the residents feel would negatively impact their properties without a safety justification.
Calling it a “two-mile road to nowhere,” the group said they don’t believe safety concerns warrant the additional right of way acquisition.
Ron Hirsch stated that at a recent meeting with Sherburne County officials, the citizens were told that a possible solution could include Becker Township taking over the road, thus allowing it to be built to township instead of county standards.
Hirsch noted that there wouldn’t be much of a benefit to the township unless that portion of roadway could be “traded” for a portion of asphalt elsewhere that had a higher traffic count and could benefit from the wider design.
The supervisors asked several questions and then agreed that they would review the possibilities and seek further information. Township Engineer Wes Davis will be consulted and the issue will be studied over the coming months.
Davis also updated the board on the 97th St. project, noting that it is currently under State Aid Review with the hopes of still going to bid this spring. Because it is a combined project with the City of Becker, Clear Lake Township and Sherburne County, there is a great deal of collaboration and review to be done before the specifications are completed.
Clerk Lucinda Messman reported that the staff is prepared for the upcoming election and Annual Meeting scheduled for March 14. Polls will be open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. and the township will again utilize the Legion building for the election. Supervisors Robin Boros and Luke Babler both filed for re-election and are running unopposed for their seats. The Annual Meeting will follow at 8:01 p.m.
In Other Business, the Board:
• Heard from SCSO Sgt. Dan Frank, who reported on 175 calls for service in January, including 55 traffic stops and nine vehicles exiting the roadway;
• Denied a supplemental payment request for the fire sign project, noting that the amount to be paid ($20,895) already covered the full scope of the project;
• Agreed to fund year two of the Turnquist Farms cul-de-sac project with Prairie Restoration;
• Reviewed a busy upcoming schedule, including the Board of Audit on March 6 at 6 p.m., the election and annual meeting on March 14, the Reorganizational meeting on April 3 at 7 p.m. and the Local Board of Appeal and Equalization scheduled for April 11 at 6 p.m.