July 31, 2023 minutes


Alexandria, Minnesota 56308

Minutes of the meeting of July 31, 2023 

A regular meeting/public hearing of the Planning Commission of Alexandria Township was held on the 31st day of July, 2023 at the Township Conference Room, 324 Broadway, and via teleconference.

Roll Call:  Commission members present were Shad Steinbrecher, Larry Steidl, Linda Dokken-McFann, Jessica Fettig 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 Haar, made a motion to approve the minutes of the 06/26/2023 meeting as written.  Motion carried unanimously.

Chairman Steidl recessed the meeting to open the public hearing on the conditional use request submitted by Jessica Heaton, applicant, to add a full-service department for outside public servicing of oil changes, brakes, tires, rotors and batteries, and the sale of trailers to an existing conditional use permit for a used car/truck/RV/ATV/UTV/motorcycle sales business that was approved in April 2020.  Owner:  JJP Property LLC.  Property is located at 3982 39th Ave. NE.

Public Hearing:  Jessica Heaton stated the purpose of the CUP is to allow repair work on other vehicles on the car lot besides her own.  Repair work will consist of oil changes, brakes, rotors, tires, etc. Debris would be hauled off to a facility in Paynesville.  Chairman Steidl asked if she planned on having short-term outdoor storage for these disposable items.  Ms. Heaton responded they anticipate very little need for outdoor storage.  If there appears to be a build-up, she will utilize a trailer and take items home until they can be properly disposed. She also commented they take trade-ins other than cars, such as boats, trailers, etc.

Zoning Administrator Oleson reported Ms. Heaton is requesting the addition of a full-service department for outside public servicing of oil changes, brakes, tires, rotors and batteries and the sale of trailers to an existing conditional use permit for a used car/truck/RV/ATV/UTV/motorcycle sales business.  Ms. Heaton had originally applied for a conditional use permit on March 5, 2020. It was approved on April 6, 2020.  She needed to apply for another conditional use due to the following conditions in the original CUP:  Condition No. 4 states “Only the sale of passenger vehicles, trucks, recreational vehicles, ATVs and motorcycles is allowed.  The sale of trailers, semi-trucks, agricultural equipment, storage buildings or other items is not allowed without a separate conditional use permit.”  Condition No. 13 reads “Repair services shall only be for vehicles being sold onsite and not the general public.”

Oleson noted there has been some drainage concerns.  A permanent stormwater plan was required under the original CUP.

Oleson reported that the original signage was limited to 64 sq ft.  They could have up to two of those signs on the property.  He said currently they have the original sign and another located beneath it advertising the repair service.  He said these could be considered two signs versus one sign due to the separation between the two signs.  Ordinarily, the two signs would need to be 25 feet apart in order to not be considered one sign.

Oleson noted the property is served by a holding tank.  He said there appears to be a dumpster located on that area.  Oleson asked how the applicant plans to protect the tank from vehicles being driven on it, as the tank cover could collapse.  Ms. Heaton responded the garbage truck pulls up to it, not on it.

Oleson asked the location of vehicles serviced versus those for sale.  Ms. Heaton responded most of the vehicles for repair will be in and out same day.

Oleson commented her property shares a driveway with the Longboat Commons development.  Ms. Heaton stated she has been maintaining the driveway and has applied crushed rock. She has tried to direct water runoff to her property.

Chairman Steidl opened the hearing to the public for comments.

Douglas McGinley, 10303 Louisiana Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55445, stated he is the owner of Longboat Storage and majority shareholder of the Longboat Commons Association, whose property abuts JJP’s.  He says he has no big objections to the business. He does, however, have an objection to the repair work and subsequent increase in traffic due to JJP’s business.  The shared driveway is in contention.  Mr. McGinley noted the county would not allow a separate drive off Co Rd 120; therefore, JJP obtained an exception to have the apron widened for the existing driveway.  Mr. McGinley contends this disrupted his drainage.  He feels a culvert may be needed to facilitate proper drainage.  His clientele own trailers and have difficulty moving them due to the winter/spring thaw.  Mr. McGinley also voiced a complaint about the lot lines and possible encroachment.

Ms. Heaton said, regarding the approach, her contractor worked on leveling it so the neighbor would not have sitting water.  She stated in the winter they push their snow to the opposite side, away from the neighbor.  Mr. McGinley said an option would be to put in a concrete barrier down the middle of the driveway.  His contention is that JJP destroyed the driveway and it needs to be addressed.  Ms. Heaton asked how he proposes to have it done.  Mr. McGinley wants to have an excavator come in to create a crown on the road to re-direct the runoff with possibly a catch culvert.

Oleson commented he had included under staff recommendation no. 4 that the applicant submit a drainage plan that directs water flowing to the west from crossing the shared driveway in amounts that create damage to the driveway or ice formation in the winter.  Also for discussion is whether this is an actual township issue or if it should be resolved between the private parties.

Chairman Steidl closed the public comments portion of the hearing and reconvened the regular meeting.

Under Staff Recommendations:

Recommendation No. 1:  To re-word as follows: “That all of the conditions from the 2020 approval shall remain in effect with the exception of changes to conditions nos. 3, 4 and 13.”

Recommendation No. 2:  Leave as is.

Recommendation No. 3:  Delete the first portion so it now reads “That the 32 sq ft sign shall be allowed to remain on the existing pylon sign provided it maintains a separation from the main sign of at least six inches.”

Recommendation No. 4:  Leave as is.

Add Recommendation No. 5:  “Ensure proper screening for outdoor enclosure, a fence between 6’ and 8’, to be accomplished by year end of 2023.”

Add Recommendation No. 6:  “An ATF (after the fact) fine will be assessed for $500.”

Amend Condtions 3, 4 and 13 of the original 2020 CUP as follows:

Condition No. 3:  Change out the word “vehicles” to” items.”  New language to read: “The applicant shall be limited to no more than 35 items being displayed for sale at any one time.”

Condition No. 4:  Add “boats and trailers” to the vehicles allowed for sale.  New language to read: “Only the sale of passenger vehicles, trucks, recreational vehicles, ATVs, motorcycles, boats and trailers is allowed.  The sale of semi-trucks, agricultural equipment, storage buildings or other items is not allowed without a separate conditional use permit.”

Condition No. 13:  Eliminate.

Haar, seconded by Dokken-McFann, made a motion to recommend approval of the CUP application submitted by Jessica Heaton as follows: amending conditions 3 and 4 and deleting no. 13 of the original 2020 CUP as noted above and to include the four recommendations from the staff report for the current CUP application with changes to Nos. 1 and 3 and adding Nos. 5 and 6 as noted above.  Roll:  Haar, Steinbrecher, Dokken-McFann, Fettig, Steidl – yes.  Opposed: none.  Motion carried unanimously.

Chairman Steidl recessed the meeting to open the public hearing on the conditional / interim use request submitted by Titus II, Inc. to convert use of an existing house from transitional housing to a retreat center and to construct a community playground in a commercial – rural zoned district.  Property is located at 7005 Co Rd 82 SE.

Representing Titus II were Mary Yaw, Executive Director, who lives onsite, and board members Tammy Heinzman, 309 W Main St, Osakis, MN and Rosalie Eisner-Roquette, 16283 154th St, Osakis, MN.

Ms. Yaw stated their five-year plan is to get the Pathway thru the Bible playground constructed on the property.  The house has transitioned from a women’s shelter into more of a retreat center for private individuals.  They are licensed with the health department as a bed and breakfast.  The house has four bedrooms on the second floor with three bathrooms and three micro-kitchens.  First floor includes Ms. Yaw’s room, living room, kitchen and laundry facilities.

Oleson reported the playground triggers a conditional use in the commercial – rural district.  The retreat center is not specifically addressed in the ordinance, but will fall under the category of either conditional or interim use.  He noted Titus II had obtained a CUP in 2020 for an additional meeting room (building). The permit was valid for one year, but the applicant could request extensions up to five years without a public hearing.  Ms. Yaw said action on the meeting room has been tabled until the playground is completed.  The playground will be open to the community and free of charge.  She said per guidelines, the retreat center building will be connected to the house via a breezeway.  Oleson stated the building could be located further away from the house if there are no living quarters in it.

Chairman Steidl inquired if a DRT meeting would be appropriate to enable Ms. Yaw to explain in more depth and detail their plans for both the playground and the new building.

Commissioner Haar inquired what comprises a retreat center?  Ms. Yaw stated it is a place where people can rent space to meet.

Dokken-McFann, seconded by Haar, made a motion to table the conditional use / interim use application submitted by Titus II to allow a Development Review Team meeting to be held.  Roll: Haar, Steinbrecher, Dokken-McFann, Fettig, Steidl – yes.  Opposed:  none.  Motion carried unanimously.  Consensus to have Oleson schedule the DRT meeting.

New Business:  Consensus to change the time for site visits to Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. effective August 2023.

Old Business:  none

Zoning Administrator’s Report:  Oleson reported the township clerk had received complaints about excessive garage sales. The town board recommended developing a policy.  Consensus to recommend garage sales be subject to a 3-day limit, 3 times a year.  It was noted action  would be complaint-driven.

Adjournment:  Being no further business Haar, seconded by Dokken-McFann, made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Meeting adjourned at 6:14 p.m.

Respectfully submitted…


Bonnie Fulghum, Administrative Assistant

Approved this ____ day of ___________, 2023


Larry Steidl, Chairman