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Cass County Board: Planning and zoning permit activity growth begins to slow

Activity is still above what Cass County saw in 2020.

Cass County Courthouse in Walker.
Cass County Courthouse in Walker.
Brainerd Dispatch
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BIRCH LAKE TOWNSHIP — The flurry of planning and zoning activity in Cass County since last year appears to be slowing down.

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Cass County Environmental Services Director Jeff Woodford shared that information Tuesday, July 19, during the Cass County Board’s third “road show” of the summer in Birch Lake Township near Hackensack.

Giving the second quarter planning and zoning activity report, Woodward said after the influx of activity the county saw in 2021, activity is finally slowing down and may even be plateauing. However, he added, the activity is still above what the county saw in 2020.

First half statistics are as follows: zoning permits are up 7.84% over last year, from 842 to 908, however fees are down $12,924.52; variances are down from 43 in 2021 to 37 in 2022; conditional uses have also decreased from 15 issued in 2021 to 12 issued in 2022; and shoreland alterations decreased from 178 issued in 2021 to 99 issued in 2022. First half revenue for the department was $270,581, which is a decrease of approximately 10% over last year’s amount of $300,011.

Woodford said even though activity was down for the first half of the year, the second quarter showed an increase in activity for most areas over 2021, with shoreland alterations and reclassifications the only areas showing a decrease during the second quarter.

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County Engineer Darrick Anderson brought three requests before the board for approval. The first request was to award the contract for work on County Road 103 from Leader to about 3.5 miles to the east to Kern and Tabery Inc. in the amount of $1,781,564. Anderson said this is the second phase of the project and the same company completed the first phase. Commissioners approved the request unanimously.

The second request was to adopt a resolution establishing the 2022 Bridge Replacement Priority List. Normally this list would be brought to the board at the beginning of the year, Anderson said, but due to a recent request from a township the list needed to be updated. The resolution was unanimously adopted.

The final request from Anderson was to award a contract to Reierson Construction Inc. in the amount of $49,932 for the repair of County Highway 60. The contract was for road repair from a broken water main that occurred last spring. The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe was unable to secure a contractor to complete the work. The previous week, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe council authorized the Cass County Highway Department to complete the work and in turn will reimburse the county.

Anderson told commissioners quotes were obtained from two companies to get the work done more quickly and save significant taxpayer money. Reierson Construction came in as the low bidder and was able to complete the work July 13. The board awarded the contract and was appreciative that Anderson and Administrator Josh Stevenson worked together to get the road open quickly for area residents.

In other business, the county board:

Approved Luchachick Architecture to submit a permit, for a fee of $500, to the state of Minnesota in order to pursue the replacement of the flat roof at Deep Portage that was damaged during one of the spring storms.

Approved a letter of support for a grant application submitted to the state broadband funding by Consolidated Telecommunications Co. for the expansion of broadband services in Sylvan Township.

Received and filed a report from Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane on the 2021 preliminary audit results and the 2022 budget to actual.

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The next meetings are as follows: Commissioner’s board meeting 9 a.m. Aug. 2 at the boardroom in the courthouse annex in Walker; and commissioner’s board meeting 6 p.m. Aug. 16 at Kego Township, Longville Fire Hall, 1350 County Road 5, Longville.

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