Northern Township Update – October 2023
Planning and Zoning Update
After 15+ years of Joint Planning with the City of Bemidji, Northern Township and The City of Bemidji mutually agreed in the fall of 2022 to discontinue our joint planning venture. By our contract we were to separate completely on December 31st of 2024. However, we had the option if both entities mutually agreed that date could be altered. Northern Township and the City of Bemidji have agreed to expedite our separation and the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board (GBAJPB) will be disbanding as of December 31st 2023.
Any new planning cases such as variance requests or conditional use permits that would have in the past gone in front of the Joint Planning Commission and the Joint Planning Board will now go directly to a new Northern Township Planning Commission that will be created and begin to hear cases in January of 2024. Additionally, cases will now be heard by the Northern Township Board rather than the joint planning board beginning January of 2024. The Board will consist of our elected Northern Township Supervisors. Dates have not been set for our planning commission and planning board meetings yet, but we will notify all residents once these dates are set.
We will provide more information including town hall hours of operations, additional contacts, forms, and resources at a later date. We felt it was important to keep you updated on our progress and our plans.
Planning and Zoning Administrator
With Joint Planning disbanding we had a need to staff our Township with a planning official. In July of this year, we were very fortunate to hire Mark Borseth as our new Planning and Zoning Administrator for the township, on a part-time basis. The funding for this new position will be largely covered by the cost savings from leaving the GBAJPB. Mark has years of experience coming from holding many roles in the City of Thief River Falls as their Public Works Director. We will plan an open house at our town hall on a later date where you will all have a chance to meet Mark and ask questions of him and our supervisors. This will again be sent out at a later date with more details and times.
Planning Commission Opportunities
We are creating a 5 person Northern Township Planning Commission. You may contact any of our Northern Township Supervisors with questions, or you can call the town clerk directly at 218-751-4989, or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an interest. We appreciate any and all applicants who would be willing to serve on this commission. There are no prerequisites other than being a Northern Township Resident to serve on our planning commission and welcome all people from all backgrounds.
We have been very fortunate to have Doug Kranich serve as our Treasurer to Northern Township for many years. Doug has informed us of his intent to retire at the end of this calendar year. Doug has provided our township with financial expertise and an unmatched level of integrity. We will miss Doug and wish him the absolute best in a long and happy well-deserved retirement. With Doug’s retirement we have an opening for a new treasurer. This is a paid part time position and if you have an interest in this position you can contact our town clerk at 218-751-4989 or email for an application at email@example.com. You can also contact Mark Borseth at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding this position. This position does not require being a resident of Northern Township so please pass this on to any person outside of our township who you think may have an interest.
Our major 2023 road project was the completion of South Lake Movil West, and Tavistock. In our plans we had a completion date of September 1st. Unfortunately, due to delays by our contractor they were unable to complete the project by this date. We are very happy to update the project’s completion in late September and some gravel shouldering and approach gravel is being completed, as well. Thank you to our residents on these roads for your patience in waiting to get this project completed. We attempt to be good stewards of your tax dollars and leaving the dates open for later completion usually gets us better pricing then very short constricted dates. However, we understand the hardship it puts on our residents having to drive through a construction zone for the entire summer and we always appreciate feedback with suggestions or thoughts on how we can do better.
Sewer and Water Project
We continue to pursue avenues for bringing wastewater services to Northern Township properties on Lake Bemidji. As most of you are aware, The City of Bemidji rescinded their offer that they presented us a year and a half ago to hook up to their system. Although this was very unfortunate, we were able to pivot to a new plan. We are exploring a potential pond system that could offer waste water treatment to our residents near Lake Bemidji. This is a very common system used in many neighboring communities including Blackduck, Clearbrook, and Thief River Falls just to name a few. In receiving a $5 Million grant last December, a huge part of the project is already funded. We also continue to pursue further funding mechanism and still believe that we will be able to fund this project that can offer wastewater services to our residents and that will help protect Lake Bemidji for years to come. There are different options available to us and once we get more definitive answers, we will share any details and plans with all residents as soon as possible.
Chairperson – Jess Frenzel – email@example.com
Vice Chair – Chris Lahn – firstname.lastname@example.org
Supervisor – Michael Kelly – email@example.com
Supervisor – Curt Blumhagen – firstname.lastname@example.org
Supervisor – Gary Barnard -email@example.com
Planning Administrator – Mark Borseth – firstname.lastname@example.org
Clerk – Mary Israelson – email@example.com – 218-751-4989