WALKER -- Several people offered additional comments on the proposed combined Cass County Zoning Ordinance Tuesday, so the county board set a third reading of the ordinance for 11 a.m. Oct. 15 at the Walker courthouse.
Changes since the first hearing include expanding the Board of Adjustment responsibilities to include serving as Wetlands Appeals Board and Board of Health. Membership also would be expanded.
Extractive uses would be allowed with a conditional use permit in the shoreland area, one-fourth mile from public waters.
The restriction for only two accessory structures per lot was deleted. Two employees would continue to be allowed in home occupations.
Contiguous non-conforming lots could not be sold separately. The reference to DNR approval was deleted from a section on controlled access lots.
Planned unit developments on general development lots would make all of the area behind Tier 1 into Tier 2 if the developer did not do any developing in Tier 1. All of the parcels behind Tier 2 would be Tier 3 on recreational development lots if there were no development in Tier 1.
Commissioner Rusty Lilyquist said Tuesday he thinks the proposal for recreational development lake planned unit developments is not enough incentive for developers to leave Tier 1 undeveloped. He recommended making the incentive program the same on recreational development lakes as that proposed for general development lakes.
The proposal to prohibit boat harbors on residential properties drew the largest number of objections Tuesday. Harbors would be permitted for water-oriented commercial properties.
Skip Duchesneau of Walker said he thinks harbors screen boats from the lake if constructed properly. They make visual sense and also can help protect personal property, he said.
Steve Fox who owns property on the south shore of Leech Lake said it does not make sense to him to prevent the owner of 2,000 feet of shoreline from building a harbor on that property if it is zoned residential.
Rita Phelps, a Turtle Lake Township property owner, said she finds the proposal discriminatory against residential property owners.
When Environmental Services Director Paul Fairbanks said Minnesota DNR studies have shown harbors negatively impact fish populations and water quality, Phelps countered by saying the DNR study was proven erroneous in court.
Merton Jones, who lives east of Walker near the Moondance Jam property, objected to removal from the ordinance of the noise pollution section. That section not only covered mass gatherings, but also loud neighborhood parties and barking dogs, he said.
Fairbanks said the county staff does not have the equipment or the expertise to measure noise levels, so was unable to enforce that section of the ordinance. He recommended Jones address noise concerns to Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
Jones said MPCA has only one half-time person assigned to noise and that person spends all the assigned time monitoring the Twin Cities International Airport and major metropolitan highway noise.
Fox said he believes the county does need some noise pollution control, because noise is a problem in the county.
Alan Bradshaw of Hackensack objected to permitting extractive uses within the shoreland district, even with a conditional use permit.
He cited one gravel pit the county permitted with a conditional use permit east of Hackensack. That pit has been abandoned and the permit run out, but no work done to restore the property, he said.
Fairbanks said he would look at requiring a minimum setback for extracted uses from lakeshore lines.
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