Cass County Board: Public hearings set on land use ordinance changes

BACKUS--Cass County will hold the first of two public hearings at 1 p.m., May 23, at the land department building in Backus on proposed changes to the county land use ordinance.

BACKUS-Cass County will hold the first of two public hearings at 1 p.m., May 23, at the land department building in Backus on proposed changes to the county land use ordinance.

The proposal sets new definitions for accessory dwelling units, guest cottages, guest quarters and steep slope.

It clarifies that a subsurface sewage treatment system permit is good for only one year when a system is found non-compliant at the time of a property sale, but is good for two years in all other instances.

It adds recreational horses to a list of domestic animals allowed on all parcels.

It sets sizes, standards and uses allowed in guest quarters and cottages, plus sewer system requirements to serve those. Guest cottages and quarters may not be rented separately.


Guest quarters and cabins are currently not allowed on properties abutting the shoreline. The proposal is to allow them, but with restrictions greater than those currently applied to non-shoreland areas.

The changes will be published April 20.

Cass County Environmental Services Department will receive comments on the proposals prior public hearing by calling 218-547-7241 or by speaking at the hearing.

Human Resource Director Joshua Stevenson reported the Minnesota Management and Budget Office has found Cass is compliant with state statutes on pay equity. Counties must pass compliance every three years.

The report looks at pay the county sets for male jobs and for female jobs and expects those pay levels to follow a direct line on a graph. Deviation off the line shows non-compliance. Cass has only about two positions that did not touch the line. Those were above the pay line, not below it.

Stevenson said Cass's compliance probably comes because the county periodically reviews some positions when job descriptions change or Cass is believed out of line with neighboring counties on a certain job.

Also a factor is that Cass has a single pay plan for the entire county rather than different pay plans for different departments, he said.

Stevenson recently attended a state legislative tax committee hearing. Proposed legislation presented at the hearings included a measure to make county program aid more equitable for smaller population counties and a measure to make the state liable financially rather than local governments for any court-ordered property tax refunds on properties where the state set the value used to compute the tax.


Currently, the state set property valuations used to calculate taxes for utilities, but when a court finds that value was set too high, the county, city/town and school district must refund the resulting overpayment.

Counties argue that the state should be liable for its mistake on a utility property and have to refund the money; or, if the county has to make the refund, it should be the agency setting the utility company's value like it does on other classes of property.

Cass County commissioners approved extending through 2021, the county's $37,125 annual lease to the U.S. Postal Service for the post office at Pine River.

They recognized May 15 to 21 as Emergency Medical Services Week

They authorized Probation Officer Travis Fisher to attend the National Criminal Justice Programs seminar on pretrial hearings in Scottsdale, Ariz., in June and Forest Resource Manager Pat Bundy to attend a Midwest Invasive Species Conference on forest pests in LaCrosse, Wis., in October.

Othan Soykan donated $7 to the Cass County general fund. Fairview Township donated $500 to the Lakes Area Dive Team.

The county earned $222,001.32 interest on investments through March this year, compared with $178,584.50 last year.

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