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home : cass county news : cass county news
January 24, 2019

5/29/2018 11:47:00 AM
County proposes changes in countywide land use ordinance
Cass County Correspondent

BENA - Cass County commissioners received a copy Tuesday of proposed changes to the countywide Land Use Ordinance, which governs zoning in the county.

A public hearing was held first before the planning commission. There will be a second public hearing during the 9 a.m. regular county board meeting June 5 at the courthouse in Walker.

The most noticeable changes begin with dropping the definitions for "guest quarters" and "guest cabins".

Instead, the definition for "accessory dwelling unit" has been changed to read: "A residential living unit that may include permanent provisions for living and or sleeping, cooking, eating and sanitation on the same parcel as, and not attached to, the single family dwelling it accompanies."

There is a new section 1126.5 setting "accessory dwelling unit" standards, including a requirement that the accessory dwelling have its own, separate sewer system unless the main house system on the lot is large enough to handle both dwellings.

The "does not include living quarters" has been dropped from the "accessory structure" definition.

"Residential structures" now would be defined as "Any building, recreational vehicle, travel trailer or place which may be used or intended to be used for sleeping, which may or not provide sanitary or kitchen facilities."

A definition is added for "Sewered structure": "A structure containing plumbing elements. (i.e. a stubbed sewer line).

"Temporary structure" has been given a separate definition: "Any structure placed on a property for less than consecutive 14 days."

The bluff impact zone no longer would involve the area below the bluff toward a lake, but only the area above the bluff, running landward.

There is a new definition for "earthen materials": "Any materials such as sand, gravel, soil, rocks or crushed granite."

A harbor will follow Minnesota DNR regulations.

An impervious surface would become "any area on a lot not covered by perennial vegetation or otherwise authorized by ESD (environmental services department)."

All permit applications to ESD more explicitly now will require having a private sewer certificate of compliance or a have a site evaluation and an application for a new system if the inspection shows it is needed. This would apply now to applications "for an addition, expansion and or change of use to a sewered structure, conditional use permit or variance".

Animal density units are proposed to allow more animal units on smaller lots than in the past.

An animal unit is equivalent to one horse. Lots under one acre on lots abutting a lakeshore still would be limited to 0.25 animal units, but in the two to three acre range would allow more than in the past.

Beach blankets would be reduced from 50 to 20 cubic yards of sand. Water Oriented Commercial zoned properties would be limited to 50 cubic yards of sand for a beach blanket.

Work period to repair ice damage to an ice ridge under a shoreland alteration permit will allow work through Nov. 1 rather than to July 1.

For measuring building setbacks from the lake, measurement can be taken from the actual building unless the overhang exceeds 30 inches.

Earth moving and soil disruption within the building setback area between buildings and the lake will be prohibited or very limited when the bluff slope is greater than 18 percent. For example: you might be able to shovel soil for adding steps with a permit to the lake, but not use heavy equipment to do it.

Patios within the building setback for structures built before 1972 will require a shoreland alteration permit.

Agricultural fences still require no permit.

For non-agricultural fences, the one-foot setback from the property line would be eliminated. All fences would have to be entirely located on the installing owner's property. Fences would have to be finished on both sides in an earth tone.

Replacement of an existing private sewer tank or drainfield must include a certificate of compliance for the remaining tank or drainfield.

Current sewer certificates of compliance would not be required to get a shoreland alteration permit.

Certificates of compliance would continue to be required to apply for a sewered structure land use permit, minor subdivision, plat, land use reclassification, conditional use permit or variance. Those certificates expire after five years for new sewer installations and after three years for an approved inspection on an existing sewer.

ESD proposes to increase the permit application fee for mobile homes, recreational vehicle and attached garages from 15 cents per square foot to 20 cents per square foot. Minimum continues to be $100.

A reduction is proposed for permit application fees for accessory structures, addition to accessory structures or change of use from 20 cents per square foot to 15 cents per square foot, with a minimum or $85 and maximum or $500, $50 for change of use accessory dwelling unit.

The full existing Land Use Ordinance and the proposed 2018 changes are each available for viewing on the Cass County website at under the Environmental Services Department section.

Second publication rights after Brainerd Dispatch.

Bill Hansen Realty

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