September 7, 2021 minutes

Alexandria Township

Alexandria, Minnesota 56308

Minutes of the meeting of September 7, 2021

A regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of Alexandria Township was held on the 7th day of September, 2021 at the Alexandria City Hall, 704 Broadway.

ROLL CALL:  Supervisors present were Jeff Oberg, Joel Dahlheimer, Rod Eldevik, Dennis Butz and Jerry Wright.  Also present was Gregg Raisanen, Clerk, with Mona Billmark, Treasurer, attending via teleconference.  As said members formed a quorum and the meeting was called to order by Chairman Eldevik at 6:00 p.m.

Oberg, seconded by Butz, made a motion to adopt the agenda as presented.  Motion carried unanimously.

Oberg, seconded by Wright, made a motion to approve the minutes of the 8/16/21 regular board meeting as written.  Motion carried unanimously.

Wright, seconded by Butz, made a motion to authorize payment of claims 21152 – 21158 in the amount of $11,874.80, net payroll $4,074.71 totaling $15,949.51.  Motion carried unanimously.


PLANNING AND ZONING: Zoning Administrator Oleson reported that on August 23, 2021 the planning commission held two public hearings, one on a rezoning application and the other for a proposed amendment to the zoning ordinance.  The hearing on the rezoning application, which was submitted by Massman Companies, was tabled and rescheduled for August 31 due to space limitations and technical difficulties.  That hearing was subsequently held at the Alexandria City Hall Council Chambers on August 31.  The rezoning application concerned property located at 2902 Hazel Hill Road SE. Oleson said the planning commission voted unanimously to recommend denial of the application based upon the existing comprehensive plan and the current land use map.  He stated there were around 50 in attendance onsite with another 15 online.  The commission heard two hours of public comment, most in opposition.

Massman CEO, Jeff Hohn, provided a video presentation and spoke in depth regarding the proposal. The company is requesting rezoning of the parcel of land that they have a purchase offer on to construct a light manufacturing assembly plant on a portion of the property.

Supervisor Wright asked what options were available for consideration.  Oleson responded the request is for rezoning to any one of three zoning districts; i.e. Commercial – Rural (C-R), Commercial – Urban (C-U) or Industrial (I).

Oleson stated that the land is currently zoned urban residential, which does not permit this type of use.  He said the planning commission has, in the past, discussed updating the comprehensive plan.  Co Rd 81 was viewed as a potential corridor for commercial development due to the sign shop that was grandfathered in and Jack’s Family Recycling.

Supervisor Oberg asked Oleson to clarify the three zoning districts.  Oleson responded that C-U is within the sewer district boundaries; C-R is outside the sewer district boundaries.  He noted there are differences in the uses allowed within the various categories.  He proceeded to address restrictions and uses for each district.  Oberg again stated there are three options for rezoning, to which Oleson replied yes.

Supervisor Dahlheimer queried if the township would require Massman to hook up to sewer, which would indicate the C-U designation.  He also indicated that if Massman were allowed to build a facility, it would increase traffic in that area.

Oberg stated the following:  1) that the area would not permanently stay agricultural and said he understood the residents’ concerns in keeping it residential.  He noted the best scenario would be to have larger lot sizes, either 2 or 5 acre parcels.  This, however, would not be feasible due to current costs; therefore, high density housing would be more realistic.  He compared the amount of traffic from a high density area versus a company working five days a week with no second shift; 2) since both 81 and 23 are county roads, the county would regulate the flow of traffic, not the township; and 3) if there is no buffer, the potential for conflict escalates.

Wright said based on the options presented for the three zoning districts, he felt the matter should be researched further and made a motion to table for up to 60 days, which was seconded by Dahlheimer.  Roll:  Butz, Wright, Oberg, Dahlheimer – yes.  Opposed:  Eldevik.  Motion carried.

Oleson mentioned the 60-day rule was already in effect.  He said the board could vote to extend  another 60 days if needed.  He stated any vote to change the zoning district requires a 2/3rds majority, which is 4 votes.

Oberg asked if the matter could be returned to the planning commission for further review.  Chairman Eldevik said the planning commission’s recommendation to deny was due in part to their opposition to spot zoning.

Oleson presented an option of applying a conditional use, which would be valid in the commercial-rural zoning district.

Oberg asked if Massman plans to keep the two parcels separate or to combine them. He also remarked that Massman had spoken of granting an easement to Ducks Unlimited for 35 acres.

Clerk Raisanen informed the residents to check the town’s website for updates on meeting dates/locations.  He also said the town would post any changes to the normal schedule.

Oleson reported that the second public hearing concerned the regulation of fences.  He said the planning commission recommended approval to add a new section to the zoning ordinance regulating fences.  At present there is no definitive definition for what constitutes a fence; limitations of 6’ in height; and what types of fencing would be considered maintenance-free.  He provided a brief summary of the new ordinance: requiring permits for fences; a permit fee of $35; surveys; added definitions for maintenance-free and non-maintenance fencing; 2-foot setbacks; exempting Ag and Ag-Residential properties; adding a section on swimming pools, noting that swimming pool covers could function as an alternative to fencing.

Wright asked if the two-foot setbacks were typical.  Oleson responded yes.

Wright, seconded by Oberg, made a motion to accept the planning commission’s recommendation for a zoning ordinance amendment to include fencing regulations.  Roll:  Butz, Wright, Dahlheimer, Oberg, Eldevik – yes.  Opposed:  none.  Motion carried unanimously.


OLD BUSINESS:  Chairman Eldevik reported Jessica Fettig expressed interest in serving on the planning commission, fulfilling Jerry Wipper’s term which expires March 2022.  Dahlheimer, seconded by Butz, made a motion to appoint Jessica Fettig to fulfill Jerry Wipper’s term which expires March 2022.  Motion carried unanimously.


Being no further business, Dahlheimer, seconded by Oberg, made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Meeting adjourned at 7:16 p.m.

Respectfully submitted….


Gregg Raisanen, Clerk

Approved this ____ day of ________, 2021


Rod Eldevik, Chairman