BACKUS -- Cass County Planning Commission has set the public hearing on proposed changes to the countywide Land Use Ordinance for 9:30 a.m. March 19 at the land department building in Backus.

A copy of the proposed ordinance with changes is available for viewing on the county website at www.co.cass.mn.us. The public is encouraged to submit written comments to the department by March 12.

Cass County Environmental Services Department issued 3.9% more permits in 2019 than 2018 and took in 9.37% more in revenue, according to the department’s annual report.

Director John Ringle told the county board Tuesday, Feb. 18, the higher revenue is due to the fact more people are building larger houses and additions.

The number of permits for new construction or private sewer systems rose from 1,147 in 2018 to 1,169 in 2019. Revenue increased from $300,069 in 2018 to $327,819 in 2019.

The number of variances the department issued remained the same at 88. Conditional uses declined from 26 in 2018 to 20 in 2019.

Ringle attributed the increase in shoreland alteration permits issued from 200 to 231 to higher surface water levels in 2019.

Land reclassifications dropped from 12 in 2018 to nine in 2019. There were three minor subdivisions approved and three new plats in 2019, compared with one minor subdivision and two plats in 2018.

Townships where the most new construction permits were issued included Sylvan (108), Woodrow (79), Shingobee (76) and 50 each in Powers and Crooked Lake.

Tuesday, the county board approved a work plan and budget for the Leech Lake River Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan. The $598,115 funding for the budget will come from a Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources grant and also triggers release for money from a Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council grant for conservation easements.

Projects will include creating a database on where culverts need to be replaced and replacing at least four in the Leech River watershed; cost sharing for private property forest management; creating a storm water infrastructure map for the cities of Longville, Hackensack, Akeley and Federal Dam; purchasing and installing two stormceptors at Walker to prevent storm water from entering Leech Lake; and implementing the use of brine instead of granular salt for county road treatment.

Following unanimous planning commission approval, the county board Tuesday approved Scott Bandel’s request to reclassify 40 acres in Walden Township from Agriculture/Forest to Rural Residential 20 and Todd and Doreen Sawyer’s request to reclassify 11.45 acres in Powers Township from Rural Residential 2 to Commercial 2.