Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Shawn Jansen
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Pine County considers adopting a county zoning ordinance


The Pine County Board of Commissioners gave the nod to a process for adopting a county zoning ordinance at the April 17 board meeting.

“It ties back to the comprehensive plan,” said Kelly Schroeder, county assessor, as she presented the board with a process for developing the ordinance that included incorporating input from the townships in the county, along with a timeline. The task begins with surveying townships who would like to be involved in the process and ends with a final adoption of an ordinance in April of 2020.

The proposed two-year process has several periods for public review and input. Schroeder said, “We decided to take an opt-in approach. Townships can decide to opt-in or not.” Schroeder pointed out that townships can opt in at any time, even after the ordinance has been officially adopted.

The idea is to outline a set of possible zoning districts and their provisions and have them be universally applied throughout the county, and allowing participating jurisdictions to assign these zoning districts themselves with assistance from the county, if desired.

A county zoning ordinance was a recommendation that came out of the adoption of the county’s comprehensive plan last year which had wide-ranging goals pertaining to everything from agriculture to economic and community development to transportation and infrastructure. County staff were directed at the board’s Committee of the Whole meeting March 16 to draft a process for developing a county zoning ordinance and timeline.

Island Lake outlet

Pine County Administrator David Minke updated the board about the Island Lake outlet project. He and County Commissioner John Mikrot of Bruno attended a meeting April 10 with the Department of Natural Resources, Pine Soil and Water Conservation District, Windemere Township Lake Association and Rep. Mike Sundin to discuss options for replacing two damaged and inoperable culverts that serve as an outlet for Island Lake. Though the culverts are on private property in Windemere Township, the 2016 summer rain event had a significant public impact, flooding residents’ homes around the lake, damaging shoreline and impacting water quality.

“At this point, we don’t have to do anything,” said Minke.

They are hoping the work for one of the options will be paid for by the state through the bonding bill. Rep. Sundin and Jason Rarick have authored a House bill, and Sen. Tony Lourey a Senate bill, said Minke. He added that Windemere Township has committed $30,000 to the project, in-kind or otherwise.

If passed, the county may receive the bond funds for the project, said Minke, and the county would be involved in ensuring the project is completed, but the county is not interested in being the authority for ongoing maintenance.

County Engineer Mark LeBrun explained that an old county road was rebuilt and replatted and was never removed but is now on private property.

Minke said it sounds like the owner is willing to grant easement. If the state does approve expenditures for the project, Minke explained there will need to be public control of the asset that’s built.

“Stay tuned,” said Minke.

First quarter finances reviewed

Minke said the county has expended 27 percent of its budget which is identical to a year ago. Highlights include higher than projected jail boarding revenue (40 percent of projected budget) and lower than budgeted expenses for Health and Human Services for the period.


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