NORTHERN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS – Monday, August 28, 2023, 5:00 PM. Northern Town Hall, 445 Town Hall Road NW, Bemidji, MN.
WORKSHOP: LAND USE PLANNING PROCESS.
PRESENT: Supervisors: Jess Frenzel, Chris Lahn, Gary Barnard, and Curt Blumhagen. Absent: Mike Kelly. Administrator Mark Borseth, and Clerk Mary Israelson.
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss topics related to taking over land use planning administration starting January 1, 2024.
Makeup of Planning Commission – It was agreed that a 5 member planning commission would be appointed, as was used prior to the formation of the JPB. There are currently three (3) township residents serving on the Joint Planning Commission and the Clerk will find out if they are interested in continuing; Clark Chambers, Al Steffen, and Michael Granlund. A notice will be placed asking for anyone else who might be interested in serving. Some thought will be given to appointing a township board member as one of the seats, at least for short term.
Ordinance – Should the current Joint Planning Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance be used, the township ordinance used prior to forming the JPB, or maybe a combination of the two? It seems that the expectation of many Northern Township residents is that we will be downsizing from what is currently being used. Many have expressed dissatisfaction with some of the regulations in the ordinance, feeling it is too restrictive in the rural township areas. It was agreed that a smaller group will sit down with the two ordinances and the zoning map, and first determine which zones will remain. Then go through to determine which portions of the current ordinance will no longer be applicable.
Attorney – There are no longer attorneys in this area who specialize in zoning law, but Troy Gilchrist was once employed by the MN Association of Townships and was most often used when needed. Since he now works with the JPB, it was felt the Jason Kuboushek would be the better option for us, if he is willing.
Other items discussed:
Fees – It is felt that many of the fees that are currently used seem too high, and some should even be eliminated.
Tree Preservation – Is this needed in the rural township areas?
Lot Size – A 2 acres lot size has been the minimum for residential use, but is that excessive? Commercial areas require 1 acre lot sizes.
Septic Inspection – This will likely be out-sourced.
Building Codes – Borseth recommended that they be adopted.
A meeting will be held with Borseth, Frenzel, Israelson, and possibly Brian Freeberg, who is working on dividing the comprehensive plan, to look over the existing materials.
The regular Town Board Meeting followed at 6:00 p.m.
PRESENT: Supervisors Jess Frenzel, Curt Blumhagen, Gary Barnard, and Chris Lahn. Absent: Mike Kelly. Road Supervisor Tim Vigen, Administrator Mark Borseth and Clerk Mary Israelson. See sign-in sheet.
MINUTES: A motion was offered by Blumhagen, and seconded by Barnard, to approve the minutes of the August 14, 2023 meeting as presented. The motion carried unanimously.
Staci Siegel – Introduced herself and announced that she and her husband, Tyler, are purchasing Lazy Jacks Bar & Grill, on Fairgrounds Road. They are closing on the sale this week, and are asking that the current Liquor License be transferred over to them, and also that the new license be approved for 2024 (as recommended by the County Auditor’s office).
A motion was then offered by Lahn, and seconded by Blumhagen, to approve the Township Consent for the transfer of the current Liquor License. The motion carried unanimously.
Another motion was offered by Blumhagen, and seconded by Barnard, to approve the Township Consent for the new 2024 Liquor License. The motion carried unanimously.
John Carlson, Beltrami County Commissioner, was present and would like to leave some brochures entitled, “Beltrami County Jail Fact Sheet”. There is going to be a special election on November 7th asking voters to approve a Local Sales Tax (LST) to help pay for the $80 million expense of building a new jail facility. The sales tax would be 0.625% on purchases other than clothing, groceries, cars, and general services/labor costs. This tax is needed in order that the expense does not fall on the Beltrami County tax payers.
Meeting with DNR – This meeting was held to make a presentation regarding a proposal to lease a portion of property for the purpose of constructing a wastewater treatment pond system. The property is located in Section 36 and is State School Trust land managed by the DNR. There was quite a bit of prep involved to create the presentation, as well as a bound handout, and the meeting seemed to go quite well. The decision is made by the trust’s administrator in St. Paul.
Congressman Pete Stauber Meeting – He stopped at the Northern Town Hall and was thanked for his support of the federal funds designated for our proposed project. He heard a short version of the presentation given to the DNR, and then toured Lake Bemidji State Park to see how the property would benefit from this proposed project. He could also see the shoreline area that would be affected by this project.
Freeberg & Grund, Inc – It was agreed that Fuller should prepare a budget for the proposed project, which would be needed for a State bond request. A motion was offered by Lahn, and seconded by Barnard, to approve the work not to exceed $10,000.00. The motion carried unanimously.
State Respresentatives – It was agreed that the process to request state bonding be started, and any other resources that might be available.
Crack Sealing – The additional work in the Four Seasons development is planned to start this week.
Striping – Vigen is still working on having this done.
Tavistock/S. Movil Lake Road – The blacktop work is contracted to Mark Sand & Gravel, and they have indicated that they will not be meeting the date for substantial completion of September 1st, that is in the contract. They will be doing some other work in the area and plan to start our work about September 19th. Penalties will start being assessed September 1st.
Wild Plum – Murray Survey is working on the easement documents for the right-of-way (ROW). Once they are in place, application can be made to the State Park Road Account by November 1st.
JOINT PLANNING BOARD (JPB) REPORT:
Lahn reported that the meeting date was changed. Another meeting to discuss the JPB dissolution will be held Thursday, September 7th, 3:30 p.m. at City Hall.
1)Notice to participate in an AIS meeting from Beltrami County, 2) notice from Beltrami County of special Election for the purpose of voting on a sales and use tax, 3) MAT notice of 4-Corners Trainings for Clerk and Treasurers, 4) Petition from Birchmont Court Property Owners.
Birchmont Court Petition – The Petition was signed by nearly all of the property owners and reads: … 1) We do not believe there is a clear easement or right of way on Birchmont Court, 2) We do not want any expansion of the road or of the road right of way, 3) We would like to be notified in writing of any future plans for road work, right of way or utility work in the future. The Petition will be forwarded to the Township Attorney for his review.
Treasurer – Ron Eischens has indicated his willingness to take over the duties of Northern Township Treasurer starting September 1st. Kranich will be working with him on the duties.
Airport Zoning – The Clerk will reach out to the Airport Manager to indicate that Northern Township would like a seat on the zoning board, as we had indicated previously to her.
Noxious Weed Training – Frenzel will attend the training at Ronglien Park on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.
Town Hall Rentals – The Clerk asked the Board to put some thought into the use of the hall for ‘garage sales’. She pointed out some damage done to the newly painted walls as the result of a recent sale rental, and feels that this type of use is hard on the facility.
Town Hall Addition – Frenzel would like to start talking about an expansion to the office space.
With no further business forthcoming, the meeting was adjourned at 6:57 pm.