3/13/2017 3:12:00 PM ICBMN Cemetery permit being discussed in County Board special session this week
BY DENISE MARTIN
The County Board has called a special start time for its regular Wednesday March 15 meeting this week. The commissioners will meet in a special closed session at 3 p.m. to first discuss whether to reconsider the county’s denial of a Conditional Use Permit for the Islamic Community of Bosniaks Cemetery.
The ICB of MN filed suit to have the MN Court of Appeals review the land use denial and rule if the denial had foundation in the record or if it was arbitrary. (Press story March 9).
Chisago County Administrator Bruce Messelt said this week the applicant is also potentially filing a case against Chisago county with the U.S. Department of Justice, which could approach the complaint from a different legal viewpoint (religion) and which also could award stiffer monetary compensation should the position taken by ICB of MN prevail. The 3 p.m. session will be an attorney-client closed session. The Board will reconvene in open session if new action on the cemetery permit is being pursued.
The regular Board meeting is at 6:30 p.m.
The Bosniak community consists of a few hundred families, residents of the Twin Cities, who said they sought the conditional permit because space was growing short for green burials under their practices, and they had found a willing seller. A local funeral home was also willing to work with the cemetery members.
The community applied for the permit under county zoning rules and proposed to buy a 16-acre parcel south of Chisago City to use as a cemetary.
The cemetery will be a green burial facility, whch means those laid to rest do not undergo chemical processing and are not buried in coffins. Neighbors objected to the “natural” burials among other concerns about property value and traffic. The commissioners voted 3-2 to deny the permit in December 2016. Commissioner Lora Walker, who voted in favor of the denial, will in all likelihood be excused from this week’s meeting, as she sustained injuries in a two-vehicle crash on I-35 near Harris, Saturday, March 11.