Cass County Board: Proposed land use changes unresolved
WALKER--There was little public comment on changes to Cass County's land use ordinance, but the county board raised several questions it failed to resolve Tuesday while holding its regular meeting at Shingobee Town Hall.
WALKER-There was little public comment on changes to Cass County's land use ordinance, but the county board raised several questions it failed to resolve Tuesday while holding its regular meeting at Shingobee Town Hall.
What commissioners did agree upon was to opt out of a new state law requiring counties and cities otherwise to make available temporary, 300-square-foot homes for ill or aged family members on a residential lot for six months to a year with a letter from the patient's doctor.
The state concept is this would place a mentally or physically impaired person close to his or her family caregiver. The state calls them "Granny Pods."
Instead, Cass County currently allows, if a variance is approved, a guest cottage or quarters on lots where it is possible to meet all setback, sewer size, lot size and other criteria as required for the primary home.
The proposed change to Cass's ordinance would make guest cottages and quarters up to 900 square feet allowable without a variance as a permanent building rather than temporary like the state law. These could be used for family and friends, whether ill or healthy.
The county planning commission approved a draft of the county change, stipulating that guest quarters and cottages cannot become rental units. They must meet primary dwelling criteria for setbacks, lot size, sewer and other stipulations.
The county commissioners failed to resolve Tuesday how the county could track who was using a guest quarters or cottage or whether they had paid the landowner to use it.
Minnesota DNR submitted the only objection to Cass's proposed ordinance change, asking that the building size be limited to 700 square feet rather than 900.
Tuesday, the county commissioners voted to continue the public hearing to their regular meeting at 9 a.m. July 5 at the courthouse in Walker. They expect to adopt a resolution then to opt out of the state law.
They asked a DNR representative to be present to explain why the DNR thinks 700 feet is better than 900 feet. Still to be resolved is the issue of how to prevent homeowners from turning their guest cottages or quarters into rental unit.
Another proposed ordinance change drawing board questions was a provision to allow a horse on a 2-acre or larger parcel within the shoreland district (one-fourth mile from a waterway).
The provision defines a "recreational" horse as a "domestic animal commonly kept as a pet" the same as a cat or dog. Commissioner Dick Downham wanted to know what the definition of a "recreational" horse would be.
Horses currently are allowed only outside the shoreland district and, based on acreage, by number of animal units.
Two people have asked to have a horse on a 2-acre parcel within the shoreland district, according to Environmental Services Director John Ringle. Neighbors have objected, he said.
That issue also will be considered again at the July meeting.
In other ESD business Tuesday, the commissioners approved paying the county's half of paving around the previously approved Longville recycle bin collection site and added approval to pay for cement under the bins and half of the access driveway to the May Township collection site.