April 10, 2020 at 9:43 a.m.

First permit issued for 'major' home-based business

First permit issued for 'major' home-based business
First permit issued for 'major' home-based business

The county’s new category of “major” home occupation, saw its first ever permit approved recently by the County Board 3-2.  

The split vote was expected with County Commissioners Ben Montzka and Mike Robinson philosophically opposed to putting industry and business in the townships where Chisago County has zoning authority.  The two have consistently declared their preference for putting commerce into business parks in cities like North Branch, Center City, Stacy, Taylors Falls which have open lots in developed business districts.  The roads, sewer and water are designed and sized more appropriately, and anybody coming into the area knows future use of these parcels.

County Board Chair Montzka says it isn’t good planning to allow a country homestead next to another agricultural-zoned  parcel  with the real potential of housing good-sized business operations.  

Under the new “major” category a permitee can employ eight people-- up from two.

The debate about home occupation limits arose from Matt Crescenzo’s request to revise a permit he was issued about 12 years ago, to create his Franconia Township machine shop Bulltear Industries.  

He came to the county when he needed to add a second building because he was growing his operations (see graphic.)  He further wanted to revise conditions for  the permit to add outdoor storage to accomodate staff, truck parking and materials.

He is also now allowed to offer instruction in his buildings for up to 10 pupils (18 max should that enrollment be needed and receives a special okay.) There will be computer aided design stations and work space for the students.

His May 2019 application sparked a lengthy review of home occupation conditions by the county planning commission.  The recommended “major” and “minor” permit levels were arrived at in November 2019. The minor home business can get administrative okay, the  “major” level of home occupation is reviewed by the planning commission before being adopted.    

Crescenzo explained at meetings that he couldn’t make it financially if he had to absorb all the expenses to relocate to a business park zoned for his machining operation.   The other county commissioners agreed that the home occupation permit is meant for facilitating commerce start-ups, and there could be more flexibility in a permit for the company to grow.  Checking in with Zoning Dept. Director Kurt Schneider by e mail, the Press was told there haven’t been any applications since the major level of permitting was allowed.


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