Stearns County takes action on several items

Submitted Article

Stearns Does Not Enact Motor Sport Facility Standards At the second public hearing regarding motor sports facilities, the Board of Commissioners voted 3-1 not to amend the County’s Land Use and Zoning Ordinance to regulate motor sports facilities in the County. The first hearing on this issue was held April 9, 2013. At that time the Board chose not to amend the ordinance, but directed staff to work with townships and track owners to make changes to the original proposed language. At the hearing, residents spoke out against the tracks, with the biggest concern being the noise level. LeRoy Gondringer, Chair of the Avon Township Board, said they would take whatever steps necessary to ban such tracks in Avon Township. “This is about the 4th re-writing of this ordinance. We held meetings; after I left the last meeting, I thought we had an agreement all the parties could live with,” said Commissioner Jeff Mergen. Commissioner Leigh Lenzmeier was the only opposing vote. “This can work. I think the property owner deserves a chance to prove the worthiness or unworthiness,” said Lenzmeier. “We always hear of the worst case scenario, and reality is the worst case doesn’t happen. I would like to see a short-term provision. I don’t have sufficient information to absolutely deny it. I think we’re being a little short-sighted in completely shutting this down. I think it could be a good for our community.” Commissioners did approve ordinance changes relating to secondary homes on farms. The new language modifies standards related to their use. The Planning Commission initiated a change to the ordinance after seeing 50 such requests in the past 13 years. Maintenance Work on the Lake Wobegon Trail Portions of the Lake Wobegon Trail will be closed sporadically throughout the remainder of the summer for pavement repairs. The trail is in need of some significant work, including crack and hole filling and the complete resurfacing of some segments. The trail will be closed in the areas where work is being done. If users see construction, they should use another portion of the trail. Trail users are asked to stay off freshly repaired surfaces. Stearns County’s Park Department received repeated complaints over the past several years about holes in the trail or the surface being too bumpy. These repairs will give a better surface quality and make the trail safer for users. Maintenance will be done as contractors are available and as weather permits, through Aug. 31, 2013. Same-Sex Marriage Applications Available at Stearns County The Stearns County License Centers are accepting applications for Same-Sex Marriages. The same-sex marriage licenses can be applied for prior to the Freedom to Marry law taking effect August 1, 2013, but they will not be valid until August 1st. For customer convenience, Stearns County will distribute all same-sex marriage licenses applied for beginning Monday, July 29 provided the required 5-day waiting period has passed. Same-sex marriage licenses applied for and distributed prior to Aug. 1 will not be valid until Aug. 1. Marriage applicants may apply and pay for their license online through the Stearns County Virtual License Center. Both parties are then required to go in person to one of the Stearns County License Centers to sign the application. To visit the Virtual License Center, go to Stearns County’s website at www.co.stearns.mn.us. There is a link at the bottom of the home page. Email vlc@co.stearns.mn. us or call 320-656-3902 with questions or for more information. Parks and Trails to be Sprayed for Weeds Stearns County’s Park Department will be spraying for noxious weeds and thistle. Spraying will be taking place throughout the county parks and the Lake Wobegon Trail for the rest of the summer. Users are asked to stay away from work crews. Spraying will be done as crews are available and as the weather permits. Any questions regarding the spraying work can be directed to the Stearns County Park Department at 320-255-6172.

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Andrew Paul Pittman

FORTY-FIVE YOUTHS AND NINE ADULTS traveled to Ashland, MT to participate in a mission trip at an Indian Reservation last week. The group was led by Youth Pastor Doug Watercott of Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church in Becker/Big Lake. (Submitted Photo)

Dazzling Dave the Yo-Yo Man

Graniteman Triathlon in Clearwater

THE CITY OF CLEARWATER is no longer accepting brush near the maintenance building on Co. Rd. 75. The maintenance crew is picking up brush the first Wednesday of each month with curbside pick-up. The site will be used for installation of a solar energy system. Residents can still drop off leaves and grass cuttings at the compost site behind the maintenance.