February 26, 2024 minutes


Alexandria, Minnesota 56308

Minutes of the meeting of February 26, 2024 

A regular meeting/public hearing of the Planning Commission of Alexandria Township was held on the 26th day of February, 2024 at the Township Conference Room, 324 Broadway, and via teleconference.

Roll Call:  Commission members present were Shad Steinbrecher, Larry Steidl, Jessica Fettig, Linda Dokken-McFann and Julie Haar.  Also present were Bonnie Fulghum, Administrative Assistant, 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 January 22, 2024 meeting as written.  Motion carried unanimously.

Chairman Steidl recessed the meeting to open the public hearing on the preliminary plat application for Maple Addition submitted by Kevin and Sarah Suchy.

Public Hearing No. 1:

Applicants Kevin and Sarah Suchy stated their property is located at 1703 Maple Drive SE.  Their intent is to split the 3.99 acre lot, creating two approximate 1.69 acre lots (a north lot and  a south lot).

Zoning Administrator Oleson reported that according to township ordinance, preliminary plats in a residential zoning district will allow for construction of sheds, homes, garages, etc. The minimum lot size is about 15,000 square feet and 100 feet in width.  These proposed lots exceed the minimums at roughly 1/3 of an acre.  The north lot would be accessed via a driveway to the north on Queens Road.  The south lot would be accessed off Maple Drive to the west.  Both lots have considerable wetlands, primarily on the east. Some wetlands are located to the southwest, which pulls around to the back on the south end.  Both lots will be served by public sewer, with an existing stub in place for the north lot.  A new stub will be needed for the south lot.  The building area depicts a 25-foot setback from the wetlands.  A public created drainage easement is being proposed over all the wetlands, which would help in storing water.  No filling of wetlands will be allowed.  A number of drainage concerns have been expressed by area residents prior to tonight’s meeting.  Oleson commented that the Suchy property, as well as properties on the west side of Maple Drive, drain into Lake Victoria.  Township Engineer Kuhn stated an approximate 15” – 19” centerline culvert exists under the township road.

Chairman Steidl opened the hearing to the public for comment.

Kari Henningsgaard Bollum, 13681 Hannibal Circle, Apple Valley, MN, stated her family has owned a cabin on Lake Victoria since 1957.  Over the years, they have encountered water issues on both the north and south sides of the lot.  They have seen standing water on the Suchy’s property and fear that if the lot is divided and construction ensues, their lot will get even more runoff.

Bruce Henningsgaard, 13484 Dellwood Way, Rosemount, MN, stated he is part owner of the family cabin located off Queens Road SE (west portion of Queens Road).  He said he is a registered engineer with the state of MN and has encountered these types of water issues in his profession.  His concern relates to runoff that not only drains from the Suchy’s property but from a larger surrounding area.  He feels the proposed 20’ wide easement would in actuality provide an avenue to drain water from the east to the west side of Maple Drive, resulting in additional runoff through the Henningsgaard property.  As the area has become more developed, roads and driveways are set up with culverts and road ditches to direct runoff, which again results in water running through their property.  He wants to see the township become more assertive in addressing the increased stormwater runoff.  An increase in impervious surfaces will, in turn, increase the amount of stormwater runoff.  He stated the township ordinance lists an erosion and sediment control plan as well as a stormwater plan.  He would like to see these instituted as part of the proposed plat.  He acknowledged his family’s property is on a low spot, and that 50 years ago the runoff would have been absorbed by the natural habitat that existed.  Ensuing development has generated increased runoff which cannot be contained by just natural habitat.  He suggested taking out the centerline culvert and replacing it with a basin on the east side of the road.  He is hoping the applicants will retain the current driveway and not replace it with a larger one, which would again result in greater runoff.

Oleson displayed pictures provided by the family of runoff to their property.

Bernie Van Zomeran, 1323 Maple Drive, stated he is not in favor of splitting the lot, feeling it is too small.  Due to the size of the proposed lots, he believes instead of homes being built, trailer homes may be moved onto the properties.  He cited areas in the neighborhood which have deteriorated over time, resulting in junk accumulation.  In his estimation, if the lot is split, it may result in more of the same.

Maria Strasser, 1404 Maple Drive, stated she and her husband (now deceased) had bought their property in 1980.  She is opposed to the lot split.  She already has problems with the culvert being inadequate to handle the rain and winter snow, and feels the increased runoff will only get worse.  The ravine is bad and the snow melt runs under her deck.  The force of the water is so fast, it ruins the shoreline.  Her fear Is that the additional water will cause her to lose her deck, a tree, and further erode the shoreline.  She inquired as to the process of adding another culvert to alleviate the runoff.  She stated the Suchy’s lot gets flooded in the summer with the heavy rains.

Kari Bollum mentioned the family met with township representatives Ben Oleson, Rod Eldevik and Jeff Kuhn to look over the area and possibly collaborate on how to potentially address the water problems.  She reiterated the family’s stance of their opposition to the preliminary plat of Maple Addition.

Engineer Kuhn reported one reason the township took over planning and zoning from the county was to address these types of drainage issues.  This area has historically been known to have water issues.  In his estimation, the amount of proposed development in this watershed is small and would pose a fairly minor impact.  He mentioned culverts already exist underneath the driveway and the township road (Maple Drive).  He acknowledged the culverts are not as engineered as they could be, and that may be one avenue to look at for additional drainage improvements.  Even though there has not been a study, as they are not required on simple subdivision plats, asking for a study could be a possibility.  A study would need to be ordered by the town board if they felt it necessary.  With the property being on the higher end of the watershed, there may be room for other improvements to potentially protect the downstream property owners and the lakeshore.  Ultimately, he felt the property owners in the watershed who would be adversely affected need to come together and agree upon a solution.

Bruce Henningsggard mentioned the Suchy’s property seems like it is in a high location in the surrounding area.  A lot of water sits all around this site except for the two proposed building sites.  He stated fill has been brought in to bring up the elevation over the last 30 – 40 years.  A lot of water sits on these lots all summer.  A final comment was that he is also concerned about water quality for Lake Victoria.

Engineer Kuhn reported there is a delineated wetland on the property and it cannot be built upon.  A 25’ buffer is in place from the wetland for building.  The drainage easement is to ensure the waterway will not be filled in and to prohibit digging deeper and exacerbating the runoff problem. Constraints do exist.  He mentioned a Design Review Team (DRT) meeting consisting of township, county, and utility company personnel was already held but has no bearing on the current drainage issue.

Maria Strasser commented rocks in the ditch have actually washed out through the culvert and ravine to the lake.  She inquired who would replace the rocks in the ditch. Engineer Kuhn responded Douglas County Soil and Water would be a resource.

Oleson stated the culvert under Maple Drive is not proposed to be changed. Engineer Kuhn responded that anything we change will probably negatively impact adjacent properties.  The erosion is due to channelized water running in one direction over a steep slope.

Oleson reported the township has a stormwater ordinance, which states if more than one acre is disturbed, a plan to control the erosion, such as silt fences, is required.  If you create a new acre of impervious coverage, such as driveways, buildings or other hard surfaces, there is a requirement for permanent stormwater management control, like stormwater ponds. Those criteria will not be met in this case since the buildable area does not constitute an acre.

Oleson addressed Mr. Van Zomeran’s questions on junk.  He explained this has been an ongoing issue in this area.  The township does have limitations on outdoor storage.  Violators are sent letters and repeat violations are turned over to the township attorney for prosecution.  Regarding housing, the township does not have rules on the type of housing allowed except for minimum dimensions for new homes, which need to meet building code.  Sometimes developers create covenants, which can dictate these types of things. The township, however, does not enforce covenants.

Bruce Henningsgaard asked if acreage is specified in the stormwater management plan.  He encouraged the commission to require a stormwater plan for this plat.

Chairman Steidl closed the public hearing and reconvened the meeting.

Commissioner Dokken-McFann expressed appreciation to the township engineer for being present to address the stormwater issues.  She felt there were two issues, the preliminary plat itself and stormwater runoff. She questioned if the stormwater issue should be part of a study regionally or a study just to address this lot.  Engineer Kuhn asked if it would be fair to require the applicants to bear the whole cost.

Commissioner Haar stated she agreed with Dokken-McFann’s sentiments.

Haar, seconded by Dokken-McFann, made a motion to recommend approval of the preliminary plat of Maple Addition along with the six conditions outlined in the staff report, amending condition no. 6 to read:  “Prior to permits being issued to construct buildings on either of the two proposed lots, the applicants for such permits shall provide and implement a permanent stormwater management plan to retain stormwater on the property as approved by the Township Zoning Administrator.”  Roll:  Haar, Steinbrecher, Dokken-McFann, Fettig, Steidl – yes.  Opposed:  none.  Motion carried unanimously.

Public Hearing No. 2:

Chairman Steidl recessed the meeting to open the public hearing on the preliminary plat and conditional use application of Geneva Meadow Townhomes submitted by Brock Leagjeld.  The property is located off Liberty Road along Old Glory Drive.

Preliminary Plat application

Brad Nyberg, Nyberg Surveying, stated Mr. Leagjeld’s proposal is to combine five residential lots and convert them to a PUD consisting of seven townhomes.  Three buildings will be twinhomes and one lot will consist of a single-family townhome.  The property contains 2.47 acres.  (Note: A separate variance has been applied for since the overall size of the property is less than the required minimum of 2.5 acres for a PUD.) All units will have sewer stubs, with five existing stubs currently.  ALASD will be cutting in two more stubs.  One common well is proposed for each twinhome, with a separate well for the single-family townhome, totaling four wells. The impervious area totals 23.1%/unit.  The single unit will be 65 – 70 feet from the existing residential home.  Mr. Nyberg questioned the second condition in the staff report regarding utility easements.

Oleson reported Mr. Leagjeld has submitted three different applications with two being discussed at this hearing.  The first application is for a preliminary plat, which creates each unit to be sold separately (purchasing a specific box (envelope) of land).  The units would jointly own common area.  The second application is for a conditional use permit, which is necessitated by ordinance when creating a PUD.  The third application is for a variance, which will come before the Board of Adjustment at a public hearing on March 4, 2024.

To answer Mr. Nyberg’s question on condition No. 2, Oleson said subdivisions are required to provide easements for utilities.  The need for utilities may be negated since this land is already part of the Geneva East plat and the infrastructure is in place.

Oleson noted retention ponds are located throughout the development. The previous plat addressed stormwater issues, and any stormwater generated by the new plat will be directed to those ponds.

Oleson recommended adding to condition no. 3 language to reflect the developer be responsible for all costs related to connecting the properties to ALASD sewer and the patching of any roads which are damaged as the connections are made.

Chairman Steidl opened the hearing to the public for comment.

Mike Kober, 294 Old Glory Drive NE, asked if the knoll at the rear of the lots would be leveled out.  Mr. Leagjeld responded yes.  His intent is to use the fill to level out the other lots.  He plans to plant trees and will not be removing all of the trees on the north end, hoping to preserve as many as possible.  Mr. Leagjeld provided pictures of other townhome projects he has done.

Chairman Steidl closed the public hearing and reconvened the meeting.

Dokken-McFann asked if each unit will have its own sewer connection.  Mr. Leagjeld responded yes.

Dokken-McFann inquired if condition No. 2 regarding the utility easements was necessary.  Consensus to eliminate this condition.

Haar, seconded by Steinbrecher, made a motion to recommend approval of the preliminary plat of Geneva Meadow Townhomes based on the recommendations outlined in the staff report, deleting condition no. 2 and including conditions 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6, amending condition No. 3 to read: “The applicant shall meet all applicable requirements and permits as required by the Alexandria Lakes Area Sanitary District (ALASD) in connecting to its sewer collection system and to require the applicant be responsible for all costs related to connecting the properties to ALASD sewer and the patching of any roads which are damaged as the connections are made.”

Roll:  Haar, Steinbrecher, Dokken-McFann, Fettig, Steidl – yes.  Opposed:  none.  Motion carried unanimously.

Conditional Use application

Oleson reported a conditional use permit is required by ordinance when creating a PUD.   By ordinance, impervious coverage is limited to 25%.  Each unit will be at 23.1% impervious coverage.

Mr. Nyberg asked for discussion on the first condition.  Oleson mentioned that typically with PUDs, people tend to ask for additional items that lend to additional impervious coverage, such as decks or landscaping with plastic underlayment, etc.  Oleson asked if each unit should be provided an allocation of the full allowable 25% impervious coverage for the entire PUD, including the common lot, at the outset or should the extra allowance be on a first come, first served basis.

Haar, seconded by Steinbrecher, made a motion to recommend approval of the Conditional Use application submitted by Brock Leagjeld to include conditions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 as outlined in the staff report.  Roll:  Haar, Steinbrecher, Dokken-McFann, Fettig, Steidl – yes.  Opposed:  none.  Motion carried unanimously.

New Business:  none

Old Business:  none

Zoning Administrator’s Report:  Oleson reported the town had received an inquiry from Carr’s Tree Service about acquiring additional land and expanding their operation.  The expansion would be to move the grinding / burning of brush further away from the road and vehicles.  The company already has a CUP.  Oleson determined a re-plat would not be needed.  Oleson asked if the company would need to obtain a new CUP or or if this would become part of the existing CUP.  Consensus to require Carr’s Tree Service to obtain a new CUP.

Adjournment:  Being no further business Haar, seconded by Fettig, made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Meeting adjourned at 6:37 p.m.

Respectfully submitted…


Bonnie Fulghum, Administrative Assistant

Approved this ____ day of ___________, 2024


Larry Steidl, Chairman