April 29, 2021 minutes


Alexandria, Minnesota 56308

Minutes of the meeting of April 29, 2021 

A regular meeting/public hearing of the Planning Commission of Alexandria Township was held on the 29th day of April, 2021 at 324 Broadway, township conference room, and via teleconference.

Roll Call:  Commission members present were Shad Steinbrecher, Larry Steidl, Linda Dokken-McFann, Jerry Wipper 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 Deputy Clerk Fulghum at 5:00 p.m.

Deputy Clerk Fulghum administered the oath of office to incoming commissioner Jerry Wipper.

Deputy Clerk Fulghum called for nominations for chairman.  Dokken-McFann, seconded by Haar, nominated Larry Steidl as chairman.  Nominations ceased and a unanimous ballot was cast for Larry Steidl as chair.  The meeting was turned over to Chairman Steidl.

Chairman Steidl called for nominations for Vice-Chair.  Haar, seconded by Wipper, nominated Linda Dokken-McFann as vice-chair.  Nominations ceased and a unanimous ballot for Linda Dokken-McFann was cast as vice-chair.

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

Minutes: Steinbrecher, seconded by Haar, made a motion to approve the minutes of the 3/22/2021 meeting as written.  Motion carried unanimously.

Chairman Steidl recessed the meeting at 5:10 p.m. to open the public hearing on the following requests submitted by Tischer Homes, Inc.:  zoning map amendment, conditional use, and the preliminary plat for Eastwood Estates. The property is located at 7617 County Road 82 SE.

Public Hearing:  Wally Tischer, representing Tischer Homes, Inc., stated he had submitted applications for a zoning map amendment, conditional use and preliminary plat.  He has also submitted a variance application, which will be heard by the Board of Adjustment at their May 3, 2021 meeting.

Zoning Administrator Oleson reported that the applicants are proposing to build a 22-lot subdivision with the intention of creating a “shouse” community. The three larger lots abutting Co Rd 82 would be classified as commercial and the 18 smaller lots in the rear would be used for the development of residential “shouse” buildings.  The property is currently zoned Rural Conservation Residential (RCR) which allows for a maximum of one home per 10 or 20 acres (dependent on how it is subdivided).  This zoning designation does not allow for the proposed 22-lot subdivision; hence, the proposal to rezone to Commercial-Rural (C-R). Oleson acknowledged that the C-R zoning designation isn’t ideal; however, this type of community (shed/house combination buildings) doesn’t necessarily fit into any other zoning classification.

The second element proposed is a conditional use permit which is necessitated by the PUD aspect which gives some flexibility of the layout and affords the township discretion over the types of commercial uses allowed.

The third element proposed is to allow a preliminary plat, platting the property as a subdivision with multiple lots.

The fourth element would be a variance to allow for a cul de sac road with a length greater than 1,200 feet. The variance will be heard by the Board of Adjustment at their May 3rd meeting,

Oleson reported that Douglas County Public Works staff have indicated they would allow three accesses to the property: 1) a field road, which would become a township road; 2) the current driveway to the farm site, which would remain private; and 3) a widened, shared access with the Dutch Caramel business, which would also remain private.

Oleson reported that Douglas County Soil and Water has identified all wetlands on the property.

Matt Hagstrom, representing Hagstrom Engineering, stated that a detention pond would be created on the northern portion of the property and would discharge to the wetland.  It would be privately maintained.  Chairman Steidl asked who specifically would be responsible for cleaning out the pond.  Mr. Hagstrom said one possibility could be a homeowner’s association.  Oleson mentioned that the town board has discussed their preference for the township’s maintaining ponds (as opposed to landowners and/or HOA’s) to ensure consistency of maintenance.  Mr. Hagstrom said if the town prefers to maintain the pond, a drainage easement could be filed at time of final plat.

Chairman Steidl opened the hearing to the public for comment.

Dave Radil, Nelson, Minnesota, stated he owns the property adjacent to the northern boundary of the proposed development.  He indicated there is a drainage ditch running through his property from the west meandering south to some of the lots proposed in the new development.  He is concerned his property will be adversely affected by the runoff once the lots are built upon.  Mr. Hagstrom commented he was unaware of the existence of the ditch.  He will work with Engineer Kuhn to find a solution to benefit all parties.

Commissioner Dokken-McFann asked if the ditch was a natural flow or a dug ditch.  Mr. Radil stated it was a dug ditch that has aged, probably dating from the 30s or 40s.  Chairman Steidl asked if the water still flows through the ditch.  Mr. Radil affirmed it does.

Mary Yaw, representing Titus II, 7005 Co Rd 82 SE, asked if the wooded lot that adjoins Titus to the west is going to be developed and, if it is, will it be industrial or residential. She explained that this particular lot will adjoin their future playground area.  Mr. Tischer said that the lot she is referring to is a little over five acres and would eventually become his personal homestead.

Jon Roeschlein, Sauk River Watershed District, Sauk Centre, Minnesota, commented that the applicants will need a Sauk River watershed permit, a stormwater management plan (which  includes the detention pond), need to meet the District’s rate control requirements, develop an operations and maintenance plan (along with a maintenance agreement outlining who is responsible for maintaining it), and an erosion control permit.

Oleson asked Mr. Roeschlein the following question: if the township were to end up maintaining the pond, would this be acceptable to the District?  Mr. Roeschlein said their primary concern is ensuring whomever signs the agreement be the party responsible for maintenance.

Mr. Radil asked for a definition of a shouse.  Mr. Tischer provided an example of the shouse he plans to build.  Mr. Tischer also said that the lots would be subject to protective covenants, with private well and septic for each lot.

Commissioner Haar raised a concern as to the provision of only one access off Co Rd 82 for the majority of the lots.  Mr. Tischer responded that in an effort to alleviate traffic, a turning lane off Co Rd 82 would be added.  Ms. Yaw asked if a turn lane would be within the development or off of 82.  Mr. Tischer said that the county highway department requested the turning lane off of 82.  Oleson elaborated further that it would be a right turn lane for traveling west with a by-pass lane going east.

Dokken-McFann inquired as to the level of the water table and its impact on slab-on-grade construction versus a more traditional with basements.

Oleson explained that the amount of impervious coverage allowed per lot is dependent upon the zoning for the development.  Mr. Tischer said this would also be covered in the protective covenants.  Oleson reiterated that the covenants would be private and therefore the township would have no role in enforcing them.

Mr. Roeschlein recommended the township address the impervious limits before the final design of the stormwater plan.  Mr. Hagstrom indicated this would be addressed.

Josh Steidl, 7040 Hope Road, asked questions regarding the impervious limits in the proposed covenants.  He also inquired as to the impact on taxes for a commercial zoning designation versus residential.  Oleson stated as a general rule of thumb, the taxes are based on how it’s being used.

Mr. Steidl inquired if an EIS (Environmental Impact Study) would be required.  Brad Nyberg, representing Nyberg Surveying, stated that this does not have to be done.

Mr. Radil asked if the new road would be curb and gutter.  Mr. Hagstrom indicated it would be a rural road, gravel only.

Chairman Steidl closed the public hearing and resumed the meeting.

Commissioner Steinbrecher asked at what juncture the township would take responsibility for maintenance of the road.  Oleson mentioned that normally the township would require the developer to warranty the road for two years and that the developer would be responsible to maintain the road for at least one year.

Dokken Mc-Fann and Steinbrecher expressed concern at the length of the road and the difficulties for snow removal at the end of the cul de sac.  Oleson stipulated that the road would be built to township standards and specifications.

Mr. Nyberg stated there had been coversation about a dedicated road to the north at the DRT meeting.  Discussion ensued on the viability of a road extension to the north, east and west.

Haar, seconded by Dokken-McFann, made a motion to recommend approval of the rezoning request from Rural Conservation Residential (RCR) to Commercial-Rural (C-R) with the one condition set forth in the staff.  Roll:  Haar – yes, Steinbrecher – yes, Dokken-McFann – yes, Wipper, yes, Steidl, yes.  Motion carried unanimously.

Dokken-McFann, seconded by Haar, made a motion to recommend approval of the conditional use request with conditions 1-5 in the staff report, revisions to conditions 1, 2 and 3 as follows:  Condition No.1 to read: “That proposed lots 2 – 21 may be used residentially”; Condition No. 2 to read in part: “That proposed lots 2 – 21 may be used for limited commercial uses… “ and “Allowable hours of operation for any business shall be from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.”; and “Allowable hours for deliveries by vehicles shall be from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m…”; Condition No. 3 to read in part:  “Proposed lots 2 – 21 may not have any uses….”  Also 3.d. was deleted.  Roll:  Haar – yes, Steinbrecher – yes, Dokken-McFann – yes, Wipper – yes, Steidl – yes.  Motion carried unanimously.

Dokken-McFann, seconded by Haar, made a motion to recommend approval of the Preliminary Plat of Eastwood Estates including conditions 3, 4 and 6 in the staff report.  Roll:  Haar – yes, Steinbrecher – yes, Dokken-McFann – yes, Wipper – yes, Steidl – yes.  Motion carried unanimously.

Zoning Administrator’s Report:  Oleson provided an update of zoning activities. 

New Business:  none

Old Business:  Discussion on possible ordinance amendments relating to shouse regulations was tabled.

Adjournment:  Being no further business Steinbrecher, seconded by Haar, made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Meeting adjourned at 7:14 p.m.

Respectfully submitted…


Bonnie Fulghum, Deputy Clerk

Approved this ____ day of ___________, 2021



Larry Steidl, Chairman