TOWER— The city council here, on Monday, gave its 4-1 blessing to a conditional use permit, or CUP, for the proposed Renner RV park, to be located on Pike Bay just west of the Standing Bear …
TOWER— The city council here, on Monday, gave its 4-1 blessing to a conditional use permit, or CUP, for the proposed Renner RV park, to be located on Pike Bay just west of the Standing Bear Marina.
The council largely adopted the conditions approved by the city’s planning and zoning commission, except it dropped the requirement that the developer, Justin Renner, complete an environmental assessment worksheet, or EAW.
The change prompted considerable discussion by the council, in part because the city’s shoreland zoning ordinance states that a developer of a planned unit development (which seems to include RV parks) must complete an EAW before a CUP can be approved.
The ordinance provision has been dismissed as an error by some members of the planning and zoning commission in the past, but on Monday, Clerk-Treasurer Victoria Ranua contended that the ordinance is incompatible with state law. She noted that the city could order what’s known as a “discretionary” EAW under state law, but only if it has evidence that the project poses the potential for “significant environmental effects.” Ranua, who served as the land manager for the Mdewakanton Sioux community in Shakopee for a decade, said she had dealt with the EAW process many times and that the scale of the current project did not meet the threshold typical for a discretionary EAW.
Council member Kevin Norby suggested that impacts to wetlands on the property, or the installation of a septic system to serve the facility, could meet the definition, but Ranua contended those types of actions were largely routine with development and that the developer would need to comply with other regulatory agencies on those impacts in either case.
City attorney Karl Sundquist contended that the city ordinance didn’t apply in either case because the RV park likely didn’t meet the definition of a planned unit development. But it was Ranua’s argument, which she bolstered by presenting the administrative rule in question, (Rule 4100.4500), that seemed to carry the day with the council.
Since state laws and rules generally supersede local ordinances, it’s not clear under what basis the city could actually require an EAW on every planned unit development, as the ordinance seems to imply.
With the exception of the EAW requirement, the council adopted the remaining nine conditions recommended earlier this month by planning and zoning, including:
• Following all applicable drinking water and wastewater standards.
• Any docking extending into public waters shall comply with state and federal regulations.
• Quiet time begins no later than 10 p.m.
• Lighting be directed downward in compliance with night sky standards.
• The applicant must comply with all other relevant local, county, state, and federal ordinances and regulations.
• The access road be improved to ensure safe access by emergency vehicles.
• Existing screening on the lakeshore be maintained or enhanced.
• A copy of the campground rules be provided to the city.
The resolution adopted by the council, which approved Renner’s permit, also included findings of fact that supported the decision.
Norby, who lives in Mill Point, not far from the proposed RV park, was the lone dissenter on the permit request.
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