Marc Schneider and David Lucas of the Sherburne County planning and zoning dept. visited the recent Orrock Twp. meeting to give the supervisors an update on the department. The department has a new administrator, Lynn Waytashek.
Every year, the dept. fields about 49,000 calls ranging from permit requests, variances, and complaints. Due to COVID-19, the dept. had to quickly take the permitting process online, but they found that it made the process much more efficient and are happy to offer that service to residents.
The two gentlemen also went over services offered by the county, such as grants and low interest loans to be used for updating septic systems. A home may not be sold until the septic system is in compliance, so this is a valuable resource for many.
Town Hall Expansion
The supervisors asked Lucas and Schneider to stick around as they discussed their plans for the town hall expansion.
On the note of septic compliance, the town hall needs to replace its tank. There was found to be a crack in the tank, exposing the water to the ground. This is not an urgent issue, but Clerk Chris Weber suggested avoiding drinking the water until a replacement can be made. The supervisors leaned towards finalizing building expansion plans before confronting the issue.
The supervisors also spoke with the planning and zoning representatives about variances needed to the north and east of the building for some of the possible expansion ideas.
The board planned to do soil borings and a land survey as part of their expansion process.
Sgt. Luke McLean of the sheriff’s office reported a quiet month for the township. There continues to be speeders on Co. Rd. 4 and 5. One of the county plows hit a sign on Co. Rd. 15 and it needs to be fixed. Besides those two items, McLean had little to report, other than there will be a Sheriff’s Dept. meeting in December, and he encouraged the supervisors to reach out with any concerns they might like to be addressed during the meeting.
Update on Foster Encroachment
During last month’s meeting, the supervisors discussed an encroachment issue in which a resident dug up a part of the road and improperly placed a septic line. The supervisors asked the homeowner to put $4,000 in escrow to ensure the issue was fixed properly in the spring, but the homeowner didn’t want to do so. The homeowner claimed that the septic line only broke because other residents drove over it with a Bobcat, but the line was still improperly placed and needs to be fixed.
Shores of Eagle Lake
Although the township reached an agreement several months ago with the Shores of Eagle Lake development in regards to snow removal, the developer, J.P. Brooks, has yet to hold up their end and finalize the deal. Part of the road needs to be repaired in the development, but this has not yet happened.
The supervisors were concerned because they still don’t technically own the roads in the development, but it’s likely that the development will need to be plowed sometime in the weeks before the next monthly meeting, which is the next time that the board can approve and finalize the deal with J.P. Brooks, so long as they have upheld their end of the deal.
However, with tax paying residents living in the development, the supervisors were hesitant to not plow the roads and leave the residents stranded.
Plowing the roads could be a liability, because if the plow causes any damage and the roads are not technically owned by the township, the township could get in some trouble.
In the end, the supervisors voted four to one in favor of plowing the roads anyway, as they wanted to do their best to serve those taxpayers and the risk of causing damage seemed minimal.
In Other Business, the Board:
• Tabled consideration of a setback due to the property owners not attending the meeting;
• Designated the town hall as the official polling location, though this may change back to the trail association shed depending on how quickly the town hall expansion can be done and whether there are any elections next year;
• Reviewed the treasurer’s recent action of moving township funds into a money market account to receive a higher interest rate;
• Discussed participating in the county broadband program;
• Approved the joint community meeting date for Jan. 20, 2022 at 6 p.m. at the Big Lake City Council Chambers;
• Approved an increase in pay for their road consulting firm, WSB, though Supervisor Paul Ellinger was curious to know whether the rate was still competitive.