The Clear Lake Twp. Board met Tuesday evening and handled several items on the agenda, including a discussion of the proposed changes to Sherburne County’s Board of Adjustment (BOA).
The BOA is the entity that reviews applications for land use issues such as variances and easements. Currently, it is comprised of seven citizens, four of whom also happen to be township supervisors from across the county.
Clear Lake Supervisor Bud Stimmler currently sits on the BOA and he voiced his frustrations and concerns about the proposed changes. He referenced a meeting several months ago where the concept was discussed and described the issue as “heated” between representatives of some of the townships and some Sherburne commissioners.
“I’m not assigned to that board as a township supervisor, but I applied as a regular citizen,” Stimmler said, noting that he didn’t even inform the board until after he was appointed. “They want to change it so no elected township officials can serve on the board and I think that’s wrong.”
Board Chair Gary Gray also weighed in on the situation, noting that in his estimation, township supervisors would certainly have the experience and knowledge needed to apply the zoning rules fairly and in accordance with county ordinances.
Stimmler said he planned to attend a county planning commission meeting Thursday evening where the issue will be discussed. The consensus of the board was that they are not in favor of the proposed change to eliminate the service of township officials from serving on the BOA and they instructed Stimmler to carry the message loud and clear to the meeting.
Stimmler updated the board on the Township Park and spoke of the difficulties in controlling the Chinese elm trees on the east side of the park. The plan is to work with the Sherburne SWCD this fall to hold a controlled burn, but first a Brush Hog will be used to grind the trees. A herbicide will then be applied to the roots to try and control the prolific trees.
The seedings around the Town Hall continue to show good growth, but Stimmler noted the need to put in a small section of edging and landscape rock to separate the native prairie grasses from the sidewalk area. Fabric will be used to control weeds and the materials will cost less than $200 total so he was given the go-ahead to get that project started.
Twp. Engineer T. “Eyk” Vander Eyk gave an update on the Sherwood Shores development road project which started this past Monday. The contractor started by digging out the approach roads so they can be matched when the pavement is reapplied.
Wednesday was scheduled to be the start of the reclamation project itself, where the road will be ground and the asphalt reclaimed.
Notices were sent out to all residents this week, indicating a timeline of the scheduled work. Email blasts were also sent last week in an effort to notify as many residents as possible.
Eyk next reported on some cracking that is happening on 67th Street in the northeast corner of the township on a shared roadway with Palmer. While he hasn’t been out to inspect the issue, Stimmler said he was there recently and the cracks do appear to be getting bigger and will need to be addressed. Eyk volunteered to speak with representatives from Palmer Twp. to see if there is a consensus on what should be done next to address the issue.
Lastly, he presented a partial pay request for $2,185 for site work that was done at the Town Hall to bring the front area into ADA compliance. More Class 2 fill than was originally planned ended up being needed to meet the requirements and the board unanimously approved the payment.
Gray notified the board that he attended a meeting of the Clearwater Twp. Board where the issue of the City of Clearwater’s two mile subdivision ordinance was discussed.
Several months ago, the city acted unilaterally and extended its subdivision ordinance for two miles beyond its current city limits. While allowed by statute, the surrounding townships are in agreement that the move causes concerns about future annexation.
Gray reported that the Sherburne County Board had sent a letter of concern to the city as well.
The township’s attorney has been consulted and options have been discussed for how to proceed, as the two mile distance seems to be “too far of a reach” in Gray’s estimation. Stimmler and Supervisor Ross Imholte agreed that the two mile addition is extreme and should be rescinded in the name of working together between the townships and the city for orderly annexation as the landowners request it.
In final action, Gray let the board know that he and Treasurer Paul Goenner are looking into the requirements for the ARPA Federal funds and that they expect to make application in the next few weeks. Final details and an amount have not been determined, although it is expected to be a significant sum of money.
In Other Business, The Board:
• Discussed last month’s Sheriff’s Report, which outlined 88 calls for service, including 34 traffic stops and 8 medicals;
• Denied a request from a homeowner to replace a tree that was cut down by the township in its road right of way.