Linwood to oversee own zoning, permitting

Township’s agreement with county will reduce fees for residents


Alice Pickering
Linwood Reporter

Linwood Township Supervisors on July 23 unanimously supported a shoreland joint powers agreement with Anoka County. Effectively this means that Linwood Township oversees the zoning and permitting process within the township.

Supervisor Ed Kramer explained that the township will be responsible for inspections and enforcing setbacks around its lakes. There is no exchange of fees.  The township and Anoka County collect fees for the services they provide. Kramer urged getting documents approved and signed as soon as possible.

To date, residents wishing to build on or alter property had to apply for building permits and sewer permits from both the township and the county. Kramer estimated the difference in costs to permit applicants will be substantial (close to $200 rather than $700 to $800).

Anoka County will continue to handle all matters pertaining to variances. It will also provide technical assistance to the township when requested.

Dog declaration

Supervisors dealt with the issue of an aggressive dog by declaring it a potentially dangerous animal. Attorney Bill Goodrich summarized the accounts of two dogs that have teamed up and recently bitten residents in two separate incidents.

Julie Zuercher, 22954 W. Martin Lake Drive, owns Gunner, one of the two dogs. She attended the meeting and acknowledged the terms of the decision. She has 14 days to appeal.

If the decision stands, she is responsible to provide an enclosed area, post a sign about the dangerous dog and provide proof of liability insurance in the minimum of $300,000. The dog must also be registered with Anoka County, have a tag on his collar identifying him as potentially dangerous, have a lifetime license and up-to-date rabies vaccinations. Outside the enclosure he must be muzzled and restrained by chain.

Former chair speaks

Added as an end-of-agenda item, Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Joe Dolphy expressed concerns with sparse agendas and staffing. Dolphy served on the Town Board from 1985-1988, and again from 1992-1998. He was chairman of the board from 1997-1998. He has served on the Fire Department, Park Board, and Road and Bridge Committee.

The draft minutes are not to the board members in time for them to review, the details are sketchy, and often the board members do not have time to read them before the meetings, Dolphy said.

Completing board minutes and Planning and Zoning minutes to have them available may be too much for Clerk Judy Hanna to complete, he said.

Even unofficial minutes would help the board, rather than relying on people’s recollection or interpretation of discussion, he said.

Dolphy believes there should be cross-training of staff so that outside resources are not necessary for the township’s day-to-day operations.

He spoke of the 2012 audit that recommended original receipts be required for reimbursement. Dolphy believes the township should stick to the policy of “no receipt, no repayment.”

Dolphy said it is a conflict for the township to have an elected clerk also hold hired positions. (Hanna is the clerk, office manager and senior coordinator.) He believes the township should shift to hiring a manager rather than electing a clerk.

Other business

The board approved minutes from the July 9 board meeting. As part of the same motion, supervisors tabled a decision about acceptance of the meeting minutes from the June 25 board meeting until more specific details can be included. Carol Searing had listened to her own tape of the meeting. Details about the cemetery had not been included.

“I’d like to see it in the minutes,” she said.

The motion combined both items and was unanimously approved.

A pancake breakfast to benefit Linwood Senior Center is scheduled for 8-10:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at Meadows on Fairview. Tickets are $2.  For more information, call 651-982-6228.

In other business, the board:

– Tabled voting on a proposed agreement with Great River Energy until the placement of power line poles along the route are staked and identified.

– Accepted the resignation of Judy Hanna as recording secretary for the Planning and Zoning Commission.

– Learned that probate on the burned-out Harris property, located on Lyons Street, has begun. Engineer Craig Jochum is to meet with Kevin Tramm, building inspector, to arrange for the site to be cleared.