After three months of weekly meetings, the 371 Moratorium Task Force is done with its part.
Members completed a draft Thursday of development rules for the highway corridor in Unorganized Territory from Baxter to Nisswa. Crow Wing County Commissioners Terry Sluss and Ed Larsen thanked the members on the task force for their involvement and time put into the plan.
The draft will go to the Crow Wing County Planning Commission, which will meet 7 p.m. Wednesday, for review. Residents will also be able to ask questions and comment on the plan. The Crow Wing County Board will see the draft May 9.
The plan contains regulations regarding on- and off-site signs, landscape, access, storm water, waste disposal, setbacks and open space in four zones -- general and light commercial, preservation and residential.
Thursday the task force discussed sewer system alternatives. The group agreed to have a commercial waste disposal system to hold between 2,000-10,000 gallons of sewage. This system would have to meet Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's standards for a 10,000-gallon system.
When a system is installed, the proposed development rules also would require an engineer's expertise on ways for the sewage to be discharged and have adequate treatment for drinking standards. The discharge would be equal or better than the discharge from the Brainerd sewage treatment plant. The city's discharge goes to a plant in St. Paul, said Al Cottingham, Brainerd planner.
Todd Holman, Baxter planner, said this is a good step because the codes are restrictive.
"I have a problem as a commercial developer," Rick Skogen, Cragun's Lodge & Conference Center, said about the number of gallons required. "Maybe there's a compromise with the numbers."
In comparison, a residential household with three bedrooms would have 600 gallons of discharge. So a restaurant with several bathroom stalls would obviously be higher.
In other business, the task force decided all the wetlands must be mitigated within their property boundaries on site or within the recharged areas, where the water comes from.
Skogen asked to allow all new commercial property owners along the highway a property tax relief of 20 percent of the assessed value of the property. However, the motion died.
Mary Safgren of the Minnesota Department of Transportation told the group the state would like to prohibit private direct access onto Highway 371 where an alternative route is available. She also said no private direct access to the highway would be granted with a land use or subdivision change.
"There are over 70 accesses southbound and 80 northbound on the corridor," Safgren said. "We'd like to clean it up."
The task force will review the proposal at a later time.
"We need to see how this is going to work the best for everyone," said Larsen. "It would be a hard decision to make on which accesses would be closed."
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