Scenic River zoning issues on township's plate

Gary W. Meyer
There are up to three dozen non-conforming at-home business ventures along the Mississippi River corridor in Big Lake Twp.
They will be the subject for discussion as Nancy Riddle, county planning and zoning administrator, expects to meet with township officials at their April 9 meeting.
The subject was initiated to the township board at their regular meeting Wednesday.
   At issue are “home occupation” and “home businesses with an accessory building” designations.
   These have been allowed to exist by the county in spite of their being at odds with conditions of the Mississippi River Wild and Scenic Ordinance, developed by the DNR and adopted by the county in 1979.
It has its own requirements separate from any other zoning district, Riddle wrote in a letter to the township.
   The same criteria apply to properties having such designations along the Mississippi River in Becker, Clear Lake and Haven townships.
   “I am not necessarily promoting a change, but I would like for the town boards to discuss and provide feedback on whether you think it is a time for modifications, or if these items are still meeting the needs of our citizens,” Riddle wrote.
The Minnesota Statute governing development in such scenic rivers designated areas is 103F.321.
   The Big Lake supervisors made quick work of a limited agenda and banged the gavel in just 40 minutes at their Wednesday meeting.
Much of their business comprised of re-organizational designations following their annual meeting earlier this month.
Supervisor Bruce Aubol was sworn in to a three-year term.
   Chairman Bob Hofer was re-elected to his position, as was Supervisor Larry Alfords as vice-chair.
Clerk Laura Hayes and Treasurer Ken Warneke were re-appointed to their positions, as two percent pay hikes over their 2013 salaries of $21 per hour.
The board kept their salaries even at last year, at $21 per hour of extra work and $90 per meeting.
The board will continue to hold its meetings at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, except November and December, when no second meeting will be held.
They kept their committee memberships as is from 2013, adding Aubol as an alternate to the buildings and grounds committee.
They re-appointed the Tribune as official township newspaper and continued gopher bounties at $2 a pair and mileage at 56 cents a mile.
   The chief election judge will receive a 50 cent an hour raise to $12.50; other judges will remain at $10 per hour.
   They also agreed to keep their general fee schedule intact from 2013.
   That includes rental of the hall and board room and kitchen at $300 and hall and kitchen at $200.
   Rental of the board room and restrooms only will be $100.
   Dog licenses will remain at $10, with $2 for a replacement tag. Address signs will be $15, plus $5 for the post.
Assessment searches will be $5; maps of the township will be $5.
In a final note, Warneke reported spring road weight restrictions went on Monday; they are expected to be in effect for five to six weeks.


(From left) Lexi Freund (Big Lake), Betsey Cornelius and Ben Cornelius (Nowthen), Gunner Dorweiler and Colton Dorweiler (Princeton), Ben Manning (Zimmerman), Bailey Dorweiller (Princeton) and Salene Krueger (Big Lake.) The county fair runs from July 16-19. (Photo by Ken Francis.)

Dr. Lola Sutherland is retiring from clinical practice after 33 years in the Big Lake community. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards.)

SMITTY’S AMATEUR FIDDLERS CONTEST drew 22 musicians to compete in Big Lake this year. They were accompanied by Gilmore Lee.

LEE GERHARDSON, 47, from New London, was found dead in Big Lake near the swimming beach in 10 feet of water Monday. Cause of death is unknown at this time but foul play is not suspected.

Adopt-a-Road participants volunteer for Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and work to clean roadsides that border and bisect refuge land. This spring, from April to June, approximately six individuals, three families, and seven groups, such as boy and girl scouts and 4-H groups, volunteered to clean countless miles of roads. (Submitted photo.)