Road right of way issues bring process questions
or for Staples Township, brought several issues to the Todd County Commissioners regular meeting on Oct. 18.
In addition to several issues of buildings that are within the road right of way (ROW), there are also septic mounds within the ROW of a road which has been platted, but never created.
Some residents would like to vacate part of the road.
Todd County Planning and Zoning Director Tim Stieber said that a survey was needed.
Mertens said that he felt that planning and zoning should help with the survey.
“Why should the township have to pick up the cost of a survey to fix county permitted (errors)?” asked Mertens.
Stieber said that the county permits the structure to meet the setbacks; however, a landowner may decide at the last minute they want to put it somewhere else.
“Surveys have to be done in certain situations,” said Stieber. “People get angry because it slows the process down and costs a lot of money.”
Stieber added that even if his department sends a staff person over, they don’t know where the lines are and don’t have surveyor equipment.
Mertens said, “So this has happened before? What do you do to correct it?”
Mertens said that in his mind, the township would just vacate the road as they have no plans to build it.
“But these were permitted through the county and I think the county should fix it,” said Mertens regarding the structures and septic systems that are in the ROW.
Commissioner Randy Neumann said that the county surveyor could come in.
Mertens said that there were other issues, too and that the easiest thing to do would be to just vacate the road.
Commissioner David Kircher said, “I am not opposed to helping townships out, but we have to be cautious. This opens the door to other townships coming in. If we make a financial commitment, we are setting a precedent. We have to be cautious.”
Neumann said that Stieber was correct when he had said earlier that the lines are off.
After further discussion County Attorney Chuck Rasmussen said, “You are claiming we permitted things that shouldn’t have been permitted. So then because you claim that, you say we should pay for it to fix it?”
Mertens replied, “Yes.”
Rasmussen said that he agreed with Kircher’s comments.
Kircher noted that some planning and zoning records had not been kept accurately.
“There are people building without permits. That is why I don’t like ‘after the fact’ permits,” said Kircher.
Stieber said that they only issue those if they have a variance or other actions are taken.
“Honest to God, I don’t know how they did it in the past,” said Stieber.
Addressing Mertens, Kircher said, “I understand your problem, but we don’t want to set a precedent.”
Chair Barb Becker said that if the township would be willing to sit with Stieber and herself, they could see if they can work something out.
In other business the board:
o Because of the low interest rates right now the county approved the selling and reissuing of the county’s General Obligation Bonds, Series 2011 originally valued at $4,125,000 (Historic Courthouse Building Project). In doing so the county would save significant dollars in interest payments for the bond’s duration. The current principal balance of the bonds at year end 2016 is $3,040,000.
The bonds were sold to United Banker’s Bank and the net savings will be over $130,000.
o Approved the reappointment of Chris Odden as county assessor.
o Approved Rachels Grove Preliminary Plat to proceed to final platting with condition that plat map be amended to correct street labeled as Douglas Street to be changed to Douglas Drive.
o Approved a subdivision request for the preliminary plat named “Camacho Addition” containing one residential lot located along the Long Prairie River and along County Rd. 28.
Stieber said that this request required an extensive survey and was one that Becker had brought to Stieber’s attention.
He said the landowners (Christopher and Holly Camacho) were frustrated because they were having trouble meeting the requirements, but that they were able to work with them and get the issues resolved.
o A zoning amendment request to change the zoning district of the SE4 of the SE4 of Section 26 of Wykeham Township from R-10 to AF-2 for the purpose of allowing animal production greater than what is allowed in R-10 Zoning was approved for Rudy Miller.
o Approved the appointment of Arnie Boie to serve as District 1 Planning Commission representative. Rin Porter, who is currently in that position, will remain for one or two more meetings to give Boie some training. The board thanked Porter for her service.
o Approved the Memorandum of Understanding with the National Joint Powers Alliance for contracting services at a cost of $9,561.24.
o Approved the enrollment in NeoGov program at a cost of $7,250. This will be a plus for the county as only one application will be necessary for health and human services employment instead of one for the Merit application and one for the county.
o Approved filling the county coordinator position at full-time.
Kircher voted against it saying, “I believe we should pursue a county administrator position. I believe that the coordinator’s position doesn’t fit. We need an administrator because of the size of our budget and staff.
Becker said that at their committee meeting, it had been agreed to hire a coordinator. The committee included Sheriff Don Asmus, County Attorney Chuck Rasmussen, County Commissioners Rod Erickson and Barb Becker, County Auditor/Treasurer Denise Gaida and County Coordinator Lisa Herges.
Herges encouraged the board that when they found additional applicants that they all participate in the interview process.
o The board met in closed session for approximately half an hour to discuss with their attorney, via telephone conference, an employee separation which is pending.