Property rights and land planning were topics of discussion at Tuesday's Crow Wing County Board meeting.
The board accepted a 267-page document by consultant Mark Liedl.
Liedl pointed out discrepancies in terms between the county's comprehensive plan, the water plan and the Highway 371 corridor plan that affect staff's ability to do their job. He said a future land-use plan would help bridge the gaps and pull things together. Boiling the language down so it is more understandable to staff and the public should continue, Liedl said. A land-use plan is a tool and provides logical development patterns to enhance resources and ensure quality of life, Liedl said.
"I always call the land use map the God map," Tautges said. "It gives government the right to play God. I mean I'm just absolutely opposed to it. The property owner has to be the first consideration as far as I'm concerned."
Liedl said he agreed with the sentiment and said government had the ability to regulate.
"We are affecting people's property rights now," Liedl said. "We're just doing it in a way that isn't particularly fair because it's not consistent or laid out well. And to me, the future land-use plan is simply a way, not to involve more government intrusion, but to lay it out in a way that is more understood and clearer so we are doing it in a way that's fair."
Tautges questioned terms like rural preservation saying people wanted to make farmers keep their land because they liked to drive by and look at it. Kristin Hansen, county planner, said there could be incentives to help people keep agricultural land or to encourage development closer to the city.
Liedl favored a regular process to update the comprehensive plan, which serves as guide for land use policies and ordinances.
Commissioner Doug Houge said a future land-use map has been talked about for six years or longer. It has to be presented as a tool like the comp plan, perhaps starting with major corridors and working out with public input and long-range vision, Houge said.
"I think in a lot of cases it's going to benefit more people than its going to discourage," Houge said.
In other business, the board:
Debated whether to hire a professional search firm to help fill the administrator's position or work in-house before agreeing to use Springsted Inc. Tami Laska, human resources director, recommended hiring a firm. She said the access to candidates would be deeper. Outsourcing is expected to cost about $20,000.
Laska said the county was really buying an access to an incredible network of candidates. Springsted will interview the board about the candidate members prefer and will provide the background for candidates. Commissioner Paul Thiede said he didn't want to overlook a new person who could gain training and have a lasting relationship with the county.
In a separate but related matter, the board did not accept the request from former facilities manager Michael O'Donnell to rescind his prior resignation with an eye toward serving as interim county administrator.
Retired K-9 Nitro following Sheriff Todd Dahl's request, meaning the county no longer has a K-9 unit as Nike retired earlier. Nitro is more than 8 years old. The board agreed to sell him to his handler for $1. Dahl proposed getting a dual purpose dog who can work narcotics and be an attack dog but he didn't want to rush into it. The goal is to have a K-9 in place here in 2009.
Supported getting Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author of "Stop Teaching our Kids to Kill" and "The Bulletproof Mind" two law enforcement training days in December. The plan is to attract about 100 people to help offset the $9,000 honorarium and other expenses.
Approved a trial period to allow a modified recruitment process for hiring at the sheriff's office. The goal is to reduce overtime by filling a staff vacancy more quickly. Board approval, which can take up to four weeks, would not be required for a replacement hiring. The sheriff's office must stay within the budgeted payroll. A report on the trial period is expected in six months.
Agreed to purchase an automated teller machine for about $3,000 to be placed in the vestibule in the county jail building. The machine is expected to serve about 200 people per day. The county would have a $3 transaction surcharge.
Agreed to purchase vaccines for shingles for people 60 and older. The health department planned to take down appointments from interested people and then order enough vaccine. The health department also will offer a tetanus plus pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine to adults.
Approved a health department plan to set vaccine prices at a maximum of $15 above cost without having to come before the board for every change.
Set public hearings for Kimball and Sibley lake improvement districts for April 22.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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