Saturday, June 22nd, 2024 Church Directory

County working on updating ordinances

The Sherburne County Board spent awhile on planning and zoning issues during their meeting Tuesday.

There were numerous amendments to update ordinances, mostly regarding floodplain and shoreland areas within the county, as recommended by the planning advisory commission.

The board approved amending Zoning Ordinance #391, Section 13 on the Floodplain District, and Zoning Ordinance #274 on the Shoreland Overlay District to replace the existing  ordinances and to ensure the county ordinances are in alignment with State of Minnesota rules and regulations.

Then the board approved amending definitions of Zoning Ordinance #276, Section 5, Subdivision 2 to ensure consistent language that aligns with proposed amendments to the  Floodplain and Shoreland ordinances.

They followed that by amending Zoning Ordinance #277, Section 18 regarding administration and enforcement to ensure consistent language for the same purpose.

Zoning Requests

In other zoning actions the board:

• Approved an Interim Use Permit (IUP) for Rebecca Holm for a home business in an existing accessory building (Commissary Kitchen) for a family food truck and catering business on 10 acres at 24331 Hwy. 169 NW in Livonia Twp.;

• Approved a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for Kodey Shaw for a 22’ x 36’ personal storage structure on 0.75 acres on 197th Ave. NW in Big Lake Twp.;

• Approved a CUP for David Brambrink for a Single-Family Home in the Commercial District, on 2.25 acres on 20th Street SE in Santiago Twp.;

• Approved a residential preliminary and final simple plat of “Aspen Heights Third Addition,” consisting of two lots on 2.5 acres on 111th Street NW in Livonia Twp.

Eminent Domain

After a 15-minute presentation and discussion, the board passed a resolution to authorize the acquisition of property for the Hwy. 169 and Co. Rd. 4 Safety and Mobility Interchange Project by eminent domain.

Public Works Director Andrew Witter said the county has been working to design an interchange for decades because of the amount of growth and the number of major accidents that have occurred there.

Witter said the county has been able to assemble 11 different “pots” of money for design, property acquisition and construction. But some of those pots of money have expiration dates and dates where funds need to allocated and spent.

“This action helps us secure the project’s schedule and project funding,” he said.

Witter said many of the parcels in the right-of-way are smaller, temporary easements for construction purposes and will be returned to the property owners after construction.

He said the county has met at least once with every affected property owner, and offers have been presented.

“Eminent domain sometimes comes with some very negative connotations. Really what it is is an opportunity on how the conversation will go.” said Witter. “It is our absolute intention to continue negotiating with these property owners in good faith and settle everything before even getting to the final actions of eminent domain, which include a land commissioner hearing.”

County Attorney Kathleen Heaney said the county has been very good at working with property owners. She said there were probably one or two contested hearings since 1994.

Housing Fund Policy

The board approved modifications to the HHS Department’s Housing Direct Assistance Flex Fund Policy to reflect allowances and priorities based on the current sources of funding for the program.

Current funding includes: Statewide Affordable Housing Aid in Sherburne County ($157,429)  and Big Lake ($68,000); Local Homeless Prevention Aid for Families and Children ($206,000) and Office of Economic Opportunity funds  ($33,499).

Health Equity Grant

The board approved an amendment to the Regional Health Equity Grant between MDH and Sherburne County.     The original grant of $150,000 was approved July, 2023 to advance HHS work in addressing health disparities. The county was offered an additional $16,000 with an extended grant program timeline now ending May 30, 2025.