Brainerd will grow by more than 640 acres in the near future.
At a joint meeting Nov. 10 at Central Lakes College, Crow Wing Township and the city of Brainerd agreed on an orderly agreement for annexing 642 acres from the township into the city.
The agreement comes after several months of negotiations between the city and the township. While negotiations during the spring and summer stalled, a small work group created by both entities at a joint meeting in late October led the agreement.
"It was very nice to work with everybody," said Mark Platta, Crow Wing Township supervisor and work group member. "The biggest problem we had earlier, as it is with anything, is communication. The larger the group the harder it is to communicate because of so many ideas."
The 642 acres is owned by Lively Auto/Mills, which intends to sell the property to a private developer. The undeveloped property is south of Brainerd on the west side of Business 371. The Mississippi River makes up the west border and the property also contains Buffalo Lake and Buffalo Creek. As a result of the agreement the city and township avoid a costly and time-consuming contested annexation process, which Brainerd went through in annexing more than 1,000 acres of land north of the city in 2000.
Major stipulations of the agreement include the use of conservation design by developers of the 642 acres in order to preserve and manage natural resources; that 7 percent of the property be set aside for park land; that 40 acres not part of the city or the 642 acres, but which will be surrounded by the city upon the Lively Auto/Mills annexation, not be approached by the city for annexation for 15 years; and that for five years following annexation property taxes from the 642 acres will be dedicated to park development.
"I think we both wanted the same thing. It was just a matter of (Crow Wing Township) trusting the city," said Brainerd City Council and work group member Mark O'Day. "It's sure a lot better than going with the contested case method."
Attorneys for the township and the city will be reviewing the agreement before it is sent to the Municipal Boundary Adjustments Office in St. Paul. The annexation will be final upon notification from the state that the annexation is official. It is expected that the process will be completed in early 2006.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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