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January 25, 2020

12/6/2019 12:08:00 PM
City votes to extend authority to township growth area

Written in the Lindstrom City Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2017, it is contemplated that areas adjacent to the city will eventually become part of Lindstrom.  It is referred to as the growth area.

In order to have a say on future development in this perimeter,  approving or disapproving of land use applications, the Lindstrom City Council voted unanimously Nov. 19 to notify county planning and zoning offices that the city is exercising its right to “extra-territorial review.”  
The county zoning department’s notice from Lindstrom was dated Nov. 27.

This vote by the city council also adopted an interim ordinance placing a moratorium on development applications in the area surrounding Lindstrom, for nine months or until August 2020.

Chisago County Environmental Services Director Kurt Schneider  tells the Press there are no subdivision applications in the hopper at this moment, that the moratorium would impact.  There is a landowner looking into a conceptual plan which the county, township and city are

invited to be involved in,  he added.  (The county planning commission handles township developments.) This project is in very early stages, Schneider added.

Chisago Lake Township Board Chair Sherry Stirling says the town board has no comment and awaits input from the county about any impacts. She also mentioned a development application filed by Mark Albrecht affecting three parcels.

Of the extra territorial review initiative, Zoning Director Schneider said it sounds like it will be an “interesting undertaking.”

Chisago County Comprehensive Land Use Plan speaks to this statute-- giving cities the authority to review rural projects and impose a moratorium. In the stated goals of the county Plan it reads, “...the county encourages cities to carefully study and plan...as allowed by statute.”

Lindstrom City Council also supported making a request (later) that a Joint Planning Board be formed.  The motion directed staff not to pursue asking the county to establish a Joint Planning Board until the moratorium expires and the new subdivision regulations have been put in writing.  

The statute requires the Joint Planning Board be made up of equal representation from affected townships, county and city.

Over the next nine months there will be work done on the process describing how to involve Lindstrom in application review and coordinate and reconcile county/township and city regulations within the two mile wide ring.

Lindstrom’s City Planning Consultant Rita Trapp explained in presenting the extra territorial review, that “Many of the parcels adjacent to the city are large and have the potential to be subdivided in the very near future. These do not fit the requirements for city-initiated annexation therefor the city has determined to wait until property owners request annexation to bring these parcels into the city. It is important to ensure that any subdivision of these parcels is done in conformance with city regulations for a number of reasons.”

The affected townships do not have land use standards and code of their own, so the statute allows for Lindstrom to take this track. There is no “orderly annexation agreement” in place, which is another tool other area cities and townships have utilized to create a clearer picture of future land uses and utility and road location,  that are sustainable and compliment both the necessary growth of the city and township concerns.

Lindstrom City Administrator John Olinger said it is up to the city council how big the area will be that falls under the extra territorial review action, although the statute provides for a two mile distance from city limits. Part of Lindstrom’s growth area could be quite extensive (two miles easily fit) while other sections run into lakes, or main roads that serve as obvious boundaries. So, while it was understood the two miles is the target area,  the staff will create a map of what’s included.  Statute 462.352 does not provide for extending the review area into any other town which has adopted subdivision regulations (ie: Lent)

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