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Cass land use permit numbers up

BACKUS — John Ringle, environmental services director, reported permit applications this year reflect a normal level, being slower than expected for the rest of the year.

While land use permits for new construction and shoreland alteration permits were up compared with 2013, applications for variances and conditional uses were down.

There were 141 land use permits issued this year, up from 136 last year, but both years were lower than in 2012 when it was a milder winter and early spring. There were 159 land use permits issued the first quarter 2012.

Variances declined from 22 in 2012 to 11 in 2013 and only four this year. Conditional use permit applications declined from 8 in 2012 to four in 2013 and only one this year.

There were 21 shoreland alteration permits processed in 2012. That dropped to six in 2013 and has risen to 16 so far this year. There have been no applications for minor subdivisions or plats so far in 2014.

By far the largest number of new land use applications continued to be for new construction in Woodrow Township between Hackensack and Longville with 17. The next highest numbers were issued for projects in Wabedo Township near Longville (10) and in Shingobee (9) near Walker.

The board approved a conservation easement Leech Lake Watershed Foundation donated to the county, which protects 151 acres of forest, 5.7 acres of wetlands and about 40 acres of agricultural land.

The site includes 1,600 feet of shoreline on Rice Portage Lake, 1,370 feet of shoreline on Deep Portage Lake and 1,205 feet of shoreline on Elbow Lake. It is in Ponto Lake Township in central Cass County.

Assistant County Engineer Kris Lyytinen obtained board approval to award a contract to the lowest of six bidders, Swenson Aggregate and Construction of Pine River, for $310,034.70 make Class 1 gravel and spread it on selected county roads this summer.

The roads to receive additional gravel include county state aid highways 4, 53, 55, 57 and 68; county roads 129, 136, and 157; and forest road 2112. Also included in the bid is making a gravel stockpile for Woodrow Township, which the township will pay for it at the same rate as the county is paying.

The commissioners awarded a contract for painting lane stripes on paved county roads to Traffic Marking Services for $126,271.59. The only other bidder, AAA Striping, bid $126,301.47.

Cass County’s satellite highway garage at Cass Lake has been sitting on tax forfeited property for many years, but that land has been held by the land department. Tuesday, the board authorized the highway department to purchase the lots in inside the city from the land department at market price, $14,541.20.

Like any other sale of tax forfeit property, the land department will distribute the receipts under a formula to the school and city where the property is located, to the county general fund and for reforestation on other county managed land.