Alexandria, Minnesota 56308
Minutes of the meeting of May 24, 2021
A regular meeting/public hearing of the Planning Commission of Alexandria Township was held on the 24th day of May, 2021 at the Township Conference Room 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 04/29/2021 meeting as written. Motion carried unanimously.
Chairman Steidl recessed the meeting to open the public hearing on the preliminary plat request for Ashmark 1st Addition submitted by GOJO, LLC, applicant, Ronald W. Jobe, Trustees, et al., owner. The property is located along Hazel Hill Road SE.
Public Hearing: Jeff Oberg, speaking on behalf of GOJO, stated their request is to divide a 20-acre parcel into four residential lots ranging in size from 2.5 – 5 acres. There are two existing field approaches. The county’s recommendation is to have two shared approaches serving two lots each off of Hazel Hill Road (County 81) which could then be split into individual driveways. Mr. Oberg informed the commission that he has submitted a variance application to the township to not connect to the sanitary sewer district since the line is quite a distance away. He remarked that he had contacted ALASD and they confirmed the prohibitive cost in extending the line. Mr. Oberg also contacted the neighbors to notify them of his intentions for developing the land, He had conversation with Jerry Haggenmiller of the Douglas County Soil and Conservation District regarding the approach and crossing over wetlands. Mr. Haggenmiller stipulated they were okay with the plan as long as the approach remained in the right-of-way.
Zoning Administrator Oleson highlighted the following: 1) wetlands are to be avoided as much as possible; 2) all permits are to be applied for and approvals required; 3) any construction needs to be outside of the easement for a gas pipeline; 4) there will be two shared driveways as opposed to four individual driveways subject to approval by the Douglas County Public Works Department; and 5) a variance to not require connection to ALASD needs to be approved before the project can commence. He noted that the lots meet the township’s ordinance requirements for width and size minimums.
Mr. Oberg commented that the staff recommendations asked for evidence. He wanted to know if he should obtain letters from ALASD, DPW and DCSW. Oleson also mentioned that he had heard from ALASD and they may be commenting on the project.
Commissioner Dokken-McFann inquired as to where the sewer line ends. Oleson stated around 30th Avenue.
Consensus to have Mr. Oberg obtain letters of confirmation from ALASD and Douglas County Public Works. It was noted that documentation had already been obtained from Mr. Haggenmiller of DCSW.
Chairman Steidl opened the hearing to the public for comment.
Mark Nohre, adjoining landowner, presented three primary concerns: 1) that the drainage from the wildlife area, which drains south, not be blocked. He said the water would ultimately flow through a driveway culvert. He wants to ensure the culvert will be of substantial size to accommodate the flow; 2) that the high pressure natural gas line be handled safely and appropriately with future construction; and 3) that it be noted he does target shooting on his property and does not want to be saddled with a noise complaint.
Oberg stated he has spoken with the future landowner for that lot and that there would be no digging around the gas line. If anything, only a driveway would be constructed over it.
Hearing no more comments, Chairman Steidl closed the public hearing and resumed the meeting.
Dokken-McFann said she had been unaware of the gas line and appreciated the information.
Oleson asked if there was tile for the drainage and was told there is not. He clarified that the drainage concern, then, is that the water be uninhibited to flow as it does now. Mr. Nohre explained he wanted to avoid any type of blockage, including a driveway without a sufficiently sized culvert. Oleson will converse with Engineer Kuhn about a public easement. Chairman Steidl asked if the township should include a condition regarding the culvert to protect all interested parties.
Dokken-McFann, seconded by Steinbrecher, made a motion to recommend approval of the Preliminary Plat of Ashmark 1st Addition with the three conditions outlined in the staff report, adding a fourth condition to read: that all documentation stipulated in the aforementioned conditions be provided for follow up. Roll: Haar – yes, Steinbrecher – yes, Dokken-McFann – yes, Steidl – yes. Motion carried unanimously.
Chairman Steidl recessed the meeting to open the public hearing on the preliminary plat request for Wosepka Acres submitted by Thomas Wosepka, applicant, William and Judith Kluver, owners. The property is located at 3410 W. Lake Jessie Drive SE.
The applicant said his request is to split a 10-acre parcel into two parcels: 3 acres to be retained by the current owners, which includes their homestead, and a 7-acre parcel which he would then purchase. Mr. Wosepka noted he lives across the street, at 3211 W. Lake Jessie Drive SE, and that the purchase of this parcel is for convenience. His intention is to build a storage shed on the rear of the property.
Oleson reported the applicant had already applied for, and was granted, a variance to allow the configuration of the lots with less than the minimum lot width/frontage of 150 feet. With the variance, all subdivision regulations appear to be met. He acknowledged that the lot configuration is not uniform and that there were title issues regarding the ALASD substation running alongside the road. Brad Nyberg, of Nyberg Surveying, stated that the title issues would be dealt with and the legal description for the substation deeded correctly.
Commissioner Haar clarified that the homestead is on the 3-acre parcel.
Chairman Steidl opened the hearing to the public for comment.
Hearing none, he closed the public hearing and resumed the meeting.
Haar, seconded by Steinbrecher, made a motion to recommend approval of the Preliminary Plat of Wosepka Acres with one condition as outlined in the staff report. Roll: Haar – yes, Steinbrecher – yes, Dokken-McFann – yes, Steidl – yes. Motion carried unanimously.
Zoning Administrator’s Report: Oleson reported the county is proposing various ordinance amendments. Consensus to have Oleson forward the proposed amendments to the planning commission.
New Business: none
Old Business: Oleson reported the discussion on shouse regulations was tabled at the last meeting. He provided background information on the discussions from the February, March and April meetings.
Dokken-McFann queried why we should treat a shouse any differently than a stick-built house. She said she was in favor of requiring no special regulations for a shouse.
Haar felt recommendations should be forwarded and, in the event the town board desired more research, to have the zoning subcommittee meet.
The commission discussed Options A – D in the staff report. Consensus to have Oleson forward the following recommendations to the town board:
1) Treat a shouse like any other house, requiring no additional regulations for appearance;
2) Forward verbage for Option D, omitting the windows requirement in the upper level; and
3) Recommend the zoning subcommittee meet if the board desires further study.
Adjournment: Being no further business Haar, seconded by Steinbrecher, made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Meeting adjourned at 6:47 p.m.
Bonnie Fulghum, Deputy Clerk
Approved this ____ day of ___________, 2021
Larry Steidl, Chairman