REMER - Paul Fairbanks, Cass County planner and solid waste officer, reported Tuesday on progress toward resolving issues at a junkyard two miles north of Pine River.
Cecil Martin, owner of property adjacent to the salvage yard Jim Kopacek owns, two weeks ago asked the county board for assistance in getting junk cars removed from Minnesota Department of Transportation right-of-way, so he could gain access to his property over an easement.
Fairbanks said he talked to Kopacek about moving cars off the Highway 371 right-of-way and away from the easement. He also reported Martin said he now does have access to his easement.
"I informed (Martin) that such disputes are civil in nature and that Environmental Services Department, upon the advice from the office of the county attorney, cannot determine easement/boundary line disputes," Fairbanks said.
Ken Larson, Brainerd MnDOT, told Fairbanks that agency has referred to a MnDOT survey crew the task of clearly defining and posting MnDOT right-of-way signs along that area of Highway 371, which will be done as their schedule allows, Fairbanks reported.
Larson also said the State Patrol will watch for encroachment onto the right-of-way and intends to issue citations for violations, he added.
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency visited the salvage yard site June 4 to observe the processing and loading of scrapped vehicles along with the handling of batteries and fluids, Fairbanks said.
MPCA is currently developing its course of action and, after a review process in St. Paul, is expected to determine whether or what course of action to take by next week, he said.
Fairbanks said county environmental services currently is reviewing whether there are violations of the county land use ordinance and, in conjunction with the county attorney, will decide by next week whether to proceed with any action against the salvage yard operation.
On other junk issues, the county board voted Tuesday to authorize the land department to install a gate across the entry to a trail through county-administered land at the north side of Upper Gull Lake in Lake Shore. People have been dumping garbage along the dead end forest trail.
The board also discussed with Sugar Point residents on the east shore of Leech Lake the issue of junk cars, dumped appliances and mobile homes that have been stripped for the metal salvage value in their area.
The board asked for a joint meeting with Leech Lake Tribal Council to discuss the issue, because the area is within reservation boundaries, meaning some of the affected properties would be subject to tribal, not county jurisdiction.
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