BACKUS - The Cass County Board conducted a public hearing Tuesday, then approved changes to the land use, subdivision and platting and definitions ordinances with minor changes from earlier proposals.
The primary change presented Tuesday designates groups of buildings or campsites owned jointly by members of one family as a "private family retreat" or "private family campground." Many of these are former resort properties.
The change also sets a limit of two years for people to start a project to make use of a variance or conditional use permit. After that, they would have to seek an extension or the permit would become invalid.
While Commissioner Bob Kangas questioned this limit, Environmental Services Director John Sumption said this limit has come and gone from the county's ordinances several times over the years. The new limit will apply only to new applications after this date. No fee is charged to seek an extension.
Planning Commission Chair Mike Wetzel said that commission and the board of adjustment have seen conditions change around a property given a conditional use or variance, which might make it less appropriate several years later and might make less sense to approve it. If the permit has been utilized, it is less an issue than if it has not, he said.
The board voted to extend a grant agreement with Minnesota DNR to enable the DNR to complete a critical habitat survey on 17 lakes in the county. Survey results will provide a basis for determining critical habitat areas on other lakes in the county.
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