April 25, 2022 minutes


Alexandria, Minnesota 56308

Minutes of the meeting of April 25, 2022

A regular meeting/public hearing of the Planning Commission of Alexandria Township was held on the 25th day of April, 2022 at the Township Conference Room, 324 Broadway, and via teleconference.

Roll Call:  Commission members present were Shad Steinbrecher, Larry Steidl, Linda Dokken-McFann and Julie Haar.  Also present were Bonnie Fulghum, Deputy Clerk, and Ben Oleson, Township Zoning Administrator.  As said members formed a quorum and the meeting was called to order by Chairman Steidl at 5:00 p.m.

Agenda: Steinbrecher, seconded by Dokken-McFann, made a motion to approve the agenda as written.  Motion carried unanimously.

Minutes: Steinbrecher, seconded by Dokken-McFann, made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 28, 2022 meeting as written.  Haar abstained.  Motion carried.

Chairman Steidl recessed the meeting to open the public hearing on the conditional use request submitted by Noel Nemitz, property located at 4248 E. Burgen Road SE.  Mr. Nemitz was accompanied by his brother-in-law, Rod Borden, a retired general contractor.

Public Hearing:  Mr. Nemitz stated he purchased two adjacent parcels on E. Burgen Road SE, 4226 and 4248, in 2021.  Last year he built a cabin on 4226 E. Burgen Rd.  Their intent was to utilize the cabin for a few years before building a permanent home.  He and his family decided to up their timeline for building their “retirement” home which would be located on the 4248 E. Burgen Rd parcel.  Their plan is to construct a one-level home without steps.  They will keep the properties as two parcels with separate septic systems and wells.  The two parcels will have a shared driveway.

Commissioner Fettig joined the meeting.

Zoning Administrator Oleson reported the applicants are applying for a conditional use permit as well as a variance.  He noted the variance will be conducted by the Board of Adjustment at a separate public hearing.  The conditional use request is to remove approximately 3- 4 feet off the top of the bluff on the property to create a flat area for the construction of a home and yard.  The area of excavation would approximate about 10,000 square feet.  They are also requesting to construct an in-ground stairway leading to the lakeshore and excavate an area at the bottom of the bluff for the creation of a flat grassed or hard-surfaced patio area, including the installation of a retaining wall as part of that construction.  The stairway would lead to a 10’ x 20’ patio at the bottom with an additional 20 – 25 feet of boulder retaining wall on either side of the patio thus creating a flat grassed area at the bottom.  A conditional use permit is required by ordinance due to the movement of more than ten cubic yards of material within a bluff (both at the bottom and the top of the bottom) and the installation of a stairway within a bluff.

The applicant mentioned their intent to move the house back another ten feet to meet the requisite setback.  Oleson stated the bluff setback applies not only to the front of the home (lakeside) but also to either side of the home. An official survey may be required to determine the exact location of the bluff and thus the setbacks.

The applicant also stated his intent to remove up to 2.9 feet of top soil of the bluff zone beginning at the elevation of 1410 for the purpose of creating a level yard area.  The dirt removed will be used to level out the area for the proposed new house construction. Oleson presented photos depicting the area that is staked out for the removal of topsoil within the bluff zone indicating 1410 elevation and not the original 1408.  Mr. Borden explained the excavation equipment would proceed to the stakes only, not disturbing any other portion of the bluff area down to the lake.  He did not address the installation of the in-ground stairway as that will be completed by a landscaper.  Oleson reported the applicant would be installing a sand beach, patio and a boulder retaining wall at the base of the bluff, noting there would be natural drainage with this type of wall.

Haar asked if the garage was included in the footprint.  Mr. Borden affirmed it was.  They will utilize part of the existing tennis court as needed and/or as appropriate.

Dokken-McFann confirmed placement of the proposed stairway.

Haar asked about drainage.  Mr. Nemitz explained water would be diverted to the back of the home toward the tennis court.  They are also considering utilizing rain barrels for run-off.

Dokken-McFann asked if they were not able to position the home as indicated, how would  that affect the placement of the home.

Steinbrecher inquired as to the type of soil in the proposed excavation area.

Chairman Steidl opened the hearing to the public for comment. Hearing none, he closed the public hearing and resumed the meeting.

Haar, seconded by Fettig, made a motion to recommend approval of the conditional use request submitted by Noel Nemitz based on the findings of fact and to include the four conditions listed in the staff report, revising condition nos. 2 and 3 and adding a fifth condition.  Condition no. 2 to be revised as follows: “…These shall include directing roof run-off to the east towards the road ditch and/or other acceptable best management practices….” Condition no. 3 to be revised as follows: “…water coming down the bluff is directed in a manner that prevents erosion.”  The last sentence to be deleted.  Condition no. 5 to be added as follows:  “No excavation equipment related to the alteration of the top of the bluff shall be allowed below 1410 elevation.  This restriction shall not apply to the construction of the stairs or patio.”  Roll:  Haar – yes, Steinbrecher – yes, Dokken-McFann – yes, Fettig – yes, Steidl – yes.  Motion carried unanimously.

Zoning Administrator’s Report:  none 

New Business:  none

Old Business:  

Adjournment:  Being no further business Haar, seconded by Steinbrecher, made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Meeting adjourned at 6:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted…


Bonnie Fulghum, Deputy Clerk

Approved this ____ day of ___________, 2022



Larry Steidl, Chairman