If there were hopes Monday of finalizing the new resort standards in Crow Wing County's zoning ordinance in a special meeting, they were not fulfilled.
One of the biggest hurdles came from the lot size requirements for resort campgrounds and if 2,000 square feet for a lot designed for seasonal use was too large. Commissioners asked staff to come up with a few options that treated the actual buildings on the campground sites more equally with standards for cabins. There may be multiple options depending on whether it's a primitive campsite, it includes a mobile recreational vehicle or a more permanent seasonal site complete with deck and possibly a storage shed.
The county board met for nearly five hours. Commissioners and staff went through specific language item by item, noting public comments on specific sections along the way. About 13 people attended the session. The meeting was designed to be a working session for the board but commissioners occasionally allowed public comment.
The new ordinances appear to be nearly complete. A few revisions or clarifications are expected within the next two weeks with board approval anticipated in August. The county's shoreland development moratorium, created to give the county time to revise related ordinances, expires Aug. 14.
The county established a Planned Unit Development Task Force and hosted numerous public meetings on the zoning ordinances.
While recognizing the economic importance of resorts in the county and the desire for shoreland residential property, the board is seeking to minimize the potential for harm to water quality. Planned unit development standards were modified to reduce impervious surface (anything from roofs to paved surfaces). Other goals include reducing high density development and limiting manipulation of vegetation in the shoreland impact zone and construction zone.
Early in the meeting, commissioners altered language that would have made it difficult for an existing resort to expand. Bonnie Finnerty, county planner, said planned unit developments, which cluster units and then provide areas of common open space, and resorts can be a good way to develop and protect water quality when they are done correctly.
Commissioner Ed Larsen said his concern was having a lake lined with residential planned unit developments that would turn into a Lake Minnetonka. Larsen said no matter how the board handles the revisions there will be some unwanted consequences it will have to address.
For now a vote to adopt the most updated version appears to be two weeks away. Commissioner John Ferrari was absent Monday.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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