WALKER -- The Cass County Environmental Services Department has set a procedure policy for handling zoning violations.
"The goal is to restore property to what it was before the violation," Director Paul Fairbanks told the county board Tuesday.
Violators will be called first, Fairbanks said. Department inspectors will then go out and knock on their door to try to work out a plan to restore property and eliminate the violation, he added.
Priorities for correcting violations will be septic systems posing imminent health threats, shoreline and wetland alteration violations, buildings constructed without a permit, garbage, junkyards, then other violations.
Inspectors will fill out a complaint form listing who, what, where, when, why and how the violation occurred. They will take photos and date and attach those to the complaint.
Notes will be made of any agreement reached with the property owner.
Those refusing to comply with inspectors' requests to correct violations will be referred to court for prosecution under the zoning ordinance.
Inspector Keith Haggestad, who will prepare complaints for referral to the county attorney, advised the board processing through court often takes a much longer time than environmental services staff members would like to see.
The board approved the 2001 zoning permit fee schedule, reflecting a cost of living based increase over 2000 rates.
Two county commissioners who comprise the capital improvements committee will review proposals for upgrading the county garbage transfer station and recycling center. They will recommend one firm for the board to select.
Those submitting proposals include Construction Analysis & Management of Brainerd and Fridley, Lightowler Johnson Associates of Fargo, N.D., and RW Beck of St. Paul.
The board endorsed a proposal from Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation to seek U.S. Forest Service approval to restore the lodge of the former Cedar Springs Resort on Leech Lake as an historic building.
The forest service is in the process of acquiring the former resort property.
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