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Cass County Board: Zoning permits down for fourth straight year

WALKER – John Ringle, environmental services director, reported zoning permits were down in Cass County for the fourth year in a row. He said he is uncertain whether the slight increase for land use permits for new construction and sewer installations reflects a leveling off of the the economic downturn or is due to the mild winter.

Cass issued 807 land use permits in 2011, compared with 861 in 2010 and 865 in 2009. Variances dropped from 100 in 2010 to 75 in 2011. Conditional use permits rose from 17 issued in 2010 to 22 in 2011. Shoreland alterations were up from 112 to 114. There were 3 minor land subdivisions in 2010 and four in 2011. The county approved one new plat in 2010 and two in 2011.

Ringle said there were more land use permit requests for new sewer systems in 2011 than in prior years, so less of the total was for new building construction.

The highest number of land use permits issued in 2011 were for sites in Woodrow Township between Hackensack and Longville (62), followed by the 56 each in Shingobee Township by Walker and Powers Township by Backus, the 52 in Crooked Lake Township by Outing and the 47 in Ponto Lake Township by Backus.

Solid Waste Officer Paul Fairbanks reported the amount of garbage the county collected in 2011 was down 20 percent from 2010. Garbage is generally a sign of economic activity, he said.

The county processed 12,030 tons of municipal solid waste (garbage) in 2011, 4,981 tons of recycled materials, 82 tons of electronic waste and 21 tons of household hazardous waste.

Fairbanks said the household hazardous waste one day per year collection sites offered throughout the county have been very popular, especially since the county began accepting electronic waste at those special collection locations. He said he is continually amazed at the amount of paint that gets recycled during those collections.

Cass County planning commission hears requests and approves some applications during each year for people who wish to have their land reclassified from one use to another. Once a year, the county board gives final approval to those reclassifications the planning commission approved during the prior year.

Tuesday the board approved the following land reclassifications from 2011:

Blind Lake Township – 40.12 acres abutting County Road 160 reclassified from agricultural/forest to rural residential 20, a low density class that permits lots 20 acres and larger.

Boy River Township – 27.5 acres reclassified from agricultural/forest to rural residential 20, permitting lots 20 acres and larger.

May Township – 115.17 acres along County State Aid Highway 34 from agricultural/forest to rural residential 10, permitting lots 10 acres and larger.

Shingobee Township – 2.6 acres from shoreland residential to water oriented commercial. The property will be managed for rental by adjacent Shores of Leech Lake Resort when not being occupied by the owners. The property was part of Shores of Leech Lake Resort prior to 1989.

Walden Township – 10 acres reclassified from agricultural/forest to rural residential 10, allowing lots 10 acres and larger. This property was split from a 75.06 acre tract.