Cass County Board: Shoreland alteration permits decline
WALKER--While the overall number of land use permits Cass County issued in 2016 dropped by 139 from 2015, that drop largely was due to the fact 151 fewer shoreland alteration permits were issued.
WALKER-While the overall number of land use permits Cass County issued in 2016 dropped by 139 from 2015, that drop largely was due to the fact 151 fewer shoreland alteration permits were issued.
John Ringle, environmental services director, said shoreline ice damage was much more significant in 2015 than in 2016.
The 74 variances issued in 2016 were 21 fewer than 2015. Conditional use permits issued in 2016 also declined, dropping from 25 in 2015 to 19.
The department approved one new plat in 2014, one in 2015, but none in 2016. There were no minor subdivisions in 2016.
Cass Environmental Services Department issued 974 permits for new structure construction and new or replacement private sewer systems in 2016. Those are up from 935 in 2015 and 822 in 2014.
Ringle said about 350 of those permits were for sewer systems, up from a recent average of just over 300.
Ringle said activity so far in 2017 indicates new construction and new and replacement sewer system permits will rise again this year.
Susan Sundberg, planning commission chair, informed the board the general public seems to be better educated about the benefits of shoreland buffers to protect lake and river water quality.
ESD issued the largest number of 2016 permits in Sylvan Township in southern Cass where there were 77. That was followed by 71 in Woodrow Township between Hackensack and Longville, 65 in Crooked Lake Township by Outing and 49 in Wabedo Township south of Longville.
No members of the public appeared at Tuesday's board meeting for the public hearing on changes proposed for the land use zoning ordinance.
This was the second hearing on these changes. The planning commission approved them earlier. Tuesday's board action opens a 30-day public comment period. The board is expected to approve the changes at the April 6 regular meeting.
These changes will prevent people from converting an existing non-conforming structure on their property to a guest house or guest quarters and prevent them from converting a former house to a guest house when they build a new, larger home on the same property.
Sundberg noted Minnesota DNR prohibits guest quarters and cabins on the same property as a permanent residence from being larger than 700 square feet. In most cases, this size limitation prevents converting an older home to a guest cottage when a larger home is built, she explained.
The proposed ordinance changes are posted on the county website at co.cass.mn.us.