BARROWS -- Brainerd City Council members and city staff met with the Crow Wing Township Board Tuesday night, telling the 40 residents who filled the town hall that they have no plans to annex any portion of the township unless the property owners make that request.
The township board requested the joint meeting at the Brainerd City Council's Oct. 20 meeting when the city annexed 40 acres of land in the township owned by Nick and Ardyce Dumbeck. The Dumbecks had petitioned the city for annexation.
Many township residents had been worried that the city was going to indiscriminately begin annexing portions of the township. They also were upset that they had not been notified about the Dumbeck annexation proceedings until the third reading before the city council.
Mayor James Wallin joined Brainerd City Council members Anne Nelson Fisher, Mary Koep, Gary Scheeler, Bob Olson, interim city planner Dale Powers and city administrator Dan Vogt at Tuesday's meeting.
Wallin said the city had annexed a large portion of land north of Brainerd when Brainerd and Baxter were involved in a "border battle" over boundary issues, but said that the city had no plans to annex property unless the property owners requested the action.
"I think I can speak for the whole council, we don't just go and actively annex property," said Wallin. "That's not our intent. ... We are not going to deny anyone the ability to be annexed in."
"I'll be very cautious about annexation," Olson told the township board. "But I'm only one vote, just so you understand."
Several residents and township board members had questions about the development being proposed at the Dumbeck property, but Vogt said the city has yet to see any plans.
Based on a recommendation made by city council members, the township board voted to send a letter to the city, requesting that the township receive notification of annexation issues involving the township before the first reading, rather than before the third reading of the annexation proceedings. The third reading of any ordinance or action is considered to be the public hearing, which is why residents didn't receive notification after the first and second readings, said Vogt.
"It's not that I don't trust you guys in Brainerd," said township board member Scott Pakarinen with a smile.
Later, board and council members bantered back and forth.
"I noticed you don't have coffee and cake at your meetings," township board member Mark Platta told council members, motioning toward the treats offered to his constituents at the board meeting. "It brings people in."
"On the other hand, we televise our meetings so we don't have to," said Mary Koep with a smile.
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