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September 22, 2021

9/2/2021 4:09:00 PM
Chisago City Council acts to align DNR shoreland zoning requirement

The Chisago City Council moved two steps closer Aug. 24  to meeting terms of the negotiated settlement reached with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. a mediation assigned as part of  a lawsuit found the city’s ordinances for Planned Unit Developments (PUD) were not in compliance with DNR Shoreland regulations. The dispute was triggered by a request for more than 20 slips at the Green Lake Villas PUD which was approved by the city and then legally challenged by the DNR.

The city placed a moratorium on shoreland development until language in its ordinances can be changed to meet DNR requirements. Aug. 24, the council’s first action was to change one word in the PUD ordinance from “must” to “may.” This will allow shoreland developments that previously were required to be considered PUDs to instead follow the zoning rules outlined in the Shoreland Overlay district as defined by the DNR.  

The council’s second action was to amend its zoning code related to installation of docks to bring it in compliance with DNR rules. Currently, city ordinance allows additional dock spaces in PUDs. Now dock spaces can only be added if the lot follows DNR-approved Shoreland Overlay District guidelines and the lot owner applies for a conditional use permit. Docks can no longer be granted as part of a PUD plat.

The city’s final step to meet DNR requirements will be to incorporate state shoreland regulations into its ordinances.

Green Lake Villas requests tax abatement
In a related action, the council set a public hearing for its September meeting to consider a request for tax abatement made by Green Lake Villas. Information provided by Administrator John Pechman stated,  “Green Lake Villas has lost significant revenue as a result of their settlement with the Minnesota DNR.” (Green Lake Villas developers reached a negotiated settlement with the DNR separate from the agreement between the DNR and Chisago City.) After receiving the request, city staff calculated that $120,000 in taxes could be abated for a period of up to five years.

Public invited to review new Comprehensive Plan Sept. 15

The city has been working on a new, revised Comprehensive Zoning Plan which will be offered for public review at an Open House at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 15 at Paradise Park. Print material be created to publicize the event.

In other business, the council:
- changed its regular November council meeting from the fourth Tuesday to Nov. 16.

- approved a variance request from David Karcher for installing a septic system less than the required minimum setback from the right-of-way for a licensed foster home located at 28678 Jocelyn Ave. Review showed the septic system could not be placed at any other location on the property and the variance will allow a holding tank to be avoided.
- passed a resolution approving a variance requested by the Chisago Economic Development Agency (EDA) to build a house 10 feet from the side yard property line at 10740 Stinson Ave. The small, corner lot was acquired by the EDA in 2002 when it was intended to be part of a larger development project. The house on the property was demolished, but the project was never completed.

A builder is now proposing to use the lot for first-time homebuyers that keeps a traditional home look for a house under 4,300 sq. ft. Administrator Pechman said a similar house by the same builder had 32 showings the first day and sold immediately.

At an Aug. 5 public hearing, the city planning commission recommended approval stating, “granting the variance request will help develop the community with an affordable house, which is a goal of the city.”  

- unanimously approved a “consumption and display” permit requested by the Uncommon Loon Brewery. The permit will allow customers who rent the Loon’s facility for private parties to bring in wine for guests in addition to beer. Administrator Pechman said the state has no problem with the city issuing such a permit. While guests can bring wine in and consume it on the property, the rule for the brewery is “Don’t store it; don’t pour it.”
- approved a license to sell cigarettes and tobacco products for Highway 8 Tobacco, a new tobacco store to be located at 10575 Wyoming Ave., in one end of the MGM liquor building. Occupants of the building include the liquor store, a cheese shop, an internet business and now the tobacco store.

- accepted an anonymous $50 donation to the Ojiketa Wednesday Lunch and Laughs (OWLLS) volunteers given in honor of Bill and Sue Mack’s 50th wedding anniversary. The OWLLS volunteer their time to help maintain facilities at Ojiketa Regional Park.

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