Gravel budget less than half what is needed
May Township engineer Katie Koscielak reported inconsistencies between the “gravel spreadsheet” she maintains of roadwork to be done and roadwork that had actually been done due to dire need. Significantly more gravel – and more money – is needed to keep roads in good condition.
Board chair John Adams proposed shifting $15,000 from the chip sealing budget and $20,000 from the asphalt budget to increase the gravel budget. “Frankly, we have been underspending on gravel. The spreadsheet identified a total amount of $526,000. At $30,000 a year (budgeted for gravel), we are looking at more than 10 years to get back to some of these roads. That’s not realistic.”
Supervisor Steve Magner agreed. “On the road tour this spring, it was obvious as can be that we have a gravel deficiency.” He pointed to the problem of dust control. “When we have gravel on the roads, we can control dust. If we are down to fines, without gravel to lock in the calcium, the dust flies.”
Magner wanted the township to get on a 7-year gravel replacement schedule, Supervisors agreed. Koscielak will prepare a 7-year plan to present at the next Board meeting, noting that some roads will need additional gravel sooner due to frequent use.
Supervisors voted to approve the shift in funds, with Pazlar issuing a caution to the Board. “In township government, it’s very important to stick to what we say we are going to do… If there is going to be a significant deviation, we put it in the newsletter, we come to the annual meeting. We can vote on a significant increase. But within a calendar year, deviating from the budget we report to the public is something we should strive to avoid.”
At July’s meeting, some residents had asked the township to skip the second application of calcium chloride (dust suppressant) on their road. Magner suggested honoring that request in order to see how a single application performed.
Amended minimum housing standards
Town planner Nate Sparks provided the Board with a draft ordinance amending the township’s minimum housing standards code. He explained that most communities have minimum size and dimensional standards for single family homes to prevent temporary structures from being used as permanent homes. The new ordinance was approved.
• No more than one residential dwelling on a parcel of land.
• No cellar, garage, recreational vehicle or trailer, basement with unfinished exterior, or accessory building shall be used as a dwelling unit (except as defined in Article 708).
• Principal buildings on unplatted land shall be placed to avoid obstruction of future street or utility extensions and to anticipate future subdivisions and land use.
• No residential structure shall have a width of less than 22 feet on not less than 70% of the structure (excluding overhangs or projects from exterior walls).
• Minimum foundation footprint shall be 900 square feet.
Sparks also provided a draft ordinance amending rural residential and agricultural zoning districts so they align with changes previously made to the conservancy zoning district. The ordinance changes were approved, which changed the following:
• The keeping of animals and domestic pets is an accessory, not a primary use in residential and agriculturally zoned areas.
• The use of land in an agricultural district as a tree/shrub nursery or a wildlife reserve is a conditional use and requires a permit.
• The use of land in a rural residential area for a park or wildlife reserve is a conditional use and requires a permit.
• A density bonus for an Open Space Design was defined.
Building code violation
The township received a complaint about a short-term rental on Square Lake Trail Court. An inspection of the property determined that the owner was no longer operating a short-term rental but had remodeled the home to create a second dwelling unit. The additional unit violates the township building code and the remodeling project was done without permits and inspections. The owner will be contacted regarding options for curing the violations.
• Supervisors approved the Oldfield Acres subdivision at 13950 Oldfield Avenue N., dividing a 20-acre property into two lots.
• The township will ask for a workshop with Washington County within the next month to discuss progress on the conservation project in and around the Wilder Forest area.
• The Board approved rental of the town park for use by the Ragnar Race.
• The Planning Commission voted Don Rolf as vice chair. The Commission is down one alternate member. Staff will post the open position on the township website.
• Supervisors approved a polling place agreement with Washington County for use of the May Town Hall.
• Given the continuing challenges of COVID, and the risk to vulnerable people, the Board decided to continue meetings via Zoom while reviewing the addition of technology to allow dual in-person/online meetings.