12/6/2012 9:27:00 AM County enacts interim use
permits for many enterprises
by DENISE MARTIN
After lots of discussion, wording and re-wording the county now has an Interim Use Permit ordinance available to regulate certain commercial enterprises in rural residential and agricultural zones. The County Board recently adopted the Interim Use Permit tool on a 3-1 vote with Commissioner Mike Robinson opposed and Lora Walker absent. Interim Use Permits (IUP) will be used to regulate kennels, mining, airstrips, light construction(contracting) operations based from home and farm employee housing. At one time these were regulated as lifetime CUPs. The adoption of the IUP creates a more applicant-shouldered burden of compliance.
There’s a requirement for renewal of IUPs that grants more oversight than with Conditional Use Permits that usually only came to the Board’s attention when there was a complaint. Conditional Use Permits run “with the land” and may not necessarily be operational under the applicant who originally got the CUP. Some of these land uses had begun to lose favor with county commissioners over the years, because of their more permanent nature and conflicts developing over time. County Commissioner Ben Montzka explained that he felt an IUP is going to be more useful in determining where to locate commercial land uses. They should be situated in the cities where there’s infrastructure to support utilities and more intensive vehicle access, he added. Montzka said having an IUP as a tool gives the county a better option in dealing with some situations in the unincorporated areas, that the county has encountered and previously didn’t have an effective way to respond. The County Planning Commission sent the Board an ordinance that allows for a certain expiration date to be set on the IUP for a land use or an event.
The IUP also now allows the county to require guarantees from the applicant for removal of structures or other improvements that went with the IUP. Commissioners can also pull an IUP under certain provisions. Commissioner Robinson argued that the county has laws that are “too strict” and have “kept people from starting a business” in Chisago County. He also opposed the provision in the ordinance calling for IUP renewals. Existing Conditional Use Permits are not affected by the IUP being added to zoning code. IN a related land use matter: Bradley and Janet Johnson of rural Shafer voluntarily surrendered the Conditional Use Permit, they were granted in 2001, to operate Countryside Golf Course and Clubhouse on Redwing Avenue. They are ceasing the golf course business. The request from Donald Damm for a variance from the driveway access ordinance was not acted on. Damm said he is experiencing a “hardship” because he wishes to build three new homes on land that the Damm family owns, next to the big house south of Almelund, that will be sold. The highway department staff had denied the driveway permits off Park Trail or CSAH 12. Damm said, “no disrespect intended” but expenses to subdivide and plat the new lots proposed, just to provide access to the new homesites, are indeed a hardship. County commissioners made no motion on this issue and decided instead to extend their decision to December 19. Staff was also directed to work with the applicant and try to resolve access issues. There will be three planning commission seats expiring. Two at-large positions and one for District 2 are open for applications. Jim Klinke now holds the Dist. 2 seat and Jim McCarthy and Lin Strong are in the at-large posts. The Board of Adjustment seat for Dist. 2 is also expiring. Contact your commissioner or the county administrator’s office or see www.co.chisago.mn.us to apply.