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June 26, 2019

5/23/2019 3:58:00 PM
Simple acreage lot splits just got much easier

Landowners who want to do a simple split of property, where a dwelling has existed prior to 1999, and where the dwelling will continue to exist after the split, now have a new cheaper, simpler way to divide off a small chunk.   

The County Board last week voted to address years of complaints aired in public hearings and open microphone, about expensive platting requirements for minor lot subdivisions.  

The new wording of the subdivision code was recommended unanimously by the Planning Commission and it was adopted 5-0 by the County Board.
The conditions under which you can divide off a single parcel from a large tract, without having to go through the formal platting process include:
~ The split has to leave a remaining piece of land 20 acres or bigger.  

~ It has to create a new parcel not smaller than five acres.  The new parcel needs to contain one acre of buildable land.  

~ The new parcel needs to be surveyed. The legal description is presented to the county Environmental Services.  The documents are to be recorded with the county.

Environmental Services Director Kurt Schneider said in a memo to the Board, that amending the subdivision ordinance will help staff and landowners in processing small or simplified one lot subdivision requests.  “It is anticipated that the removal of the formal platting requirements for simple lot splits involving existing farmstead/homestead residences will become more prevalent over time.”

The planning commission next will look at home occupations and limits and conditions for that in the country.

The Board voted 4-1 with Commissioner ben Montzka concerned enough to not want to tinker with the ordinance for now. Montzka said there was a thoroughly considered line drawn on what home-based enterprises may grow to as a permit use, and when they need to come into an industrial-commercial zone.  “Good cases can make bad law,” he commented-- in response to permit requests that have come before the planning commission that seem to present a good argument for re-considering home-based business restrictions.  

Commissioner Chris DuBose said maybe there are permitted-use modifications that may fit into some kind of “transitional” category.   But Montzka said commercial activity in the rural areas needs to be monitored and controlled. “We need to be careful...we wanted growing businesses to locate in industrial parks.”
The impetus for asking the commissioners to order an ordinance review is a permit modification applied for by Matt Crescenzo, Franconia Township.  He was first permitted to run a home occupation in 2012.

He has withdrawn his application to add 11,500 square feet to his current building housing a machine shop and go to eight employees.

The planning commission during its May 2 meeting expressed no option but to deny the application under “performance standards” now in effect.  In addition to the building size-- a Home Based Occupation is also defined by no more than two non-family employees working on site.  

The County Board vote starts a review in motion by the planning commission and Crescenzo will evaluate his options depending on the outcome of the potential revisions.

Another permit related matter was held over.  The commissioners voted 5-0 to extend the 60 day mandatory action rule for Tiller Corp. which wants to expand its sand and gravel mining pit in Sunrise Township.  The notification gives the permit approval or denial an extra 60 days.

The county was advised the company and township are continuing talks about township road upkeep and dust control affected by increased hauling. Tiller also reportedly rejects a township requirement for the permit to include River Road be paved, from the pit to County Road 9.

In other matters:  the Board appointed Sarah Kerkes to the Citizen Review Panel. There’s still openings if any of the public is interested.  This group meets periodically and provides input on contested child protection decisions and reviews the procedures in domestic incidents-child protection cases.

The County Board announced an at-large opening on the Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District Board of Managers. You do not have to be a Comfort Lake lakeshore owner, you do have to reside in the district.

Any interested Chisago County resident should contact county administration 651-213-8877 or check www.chisagocounty.us  The managers meet at least monthly, sometimes more often,  in Forest Lake.  Apply by June 5 please.

The Board unanimously named Monica Long the new Health & Human Services Director. She was appointed interim director when Nancy Dahlin retired a few months ago and in the meantime the position was advertised and 25 applicants came forward.  She attended the Board meeting with her husband and young daughter.  Commissioner Chris DuBose said Long “really stood out for all of us” in the finalization of candidates.

George McMahon added, “I can’t say enough about the qualifications she  has...she is bringing new light to some ways things are done in the department.”


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