Weather Forecast


Kinni subdivision law to go before the public

Town of Kinnickinnic Plan Commission Chairman Peter Bloch presented the Town Board with a rough draft of the revised subdivision law at the July 9 town board meeting that has been in the works for years.

Bloch said he wants the Town Board to understand the law and be comfortable with it before it's taken before a public meeting for town resident input.

A main change is doing away with the idea that the bulk of land is behind buildable property, Plan Commissioner Roger Van Beek said.

The goal is to lessen residential strip developing along roads, leaving large tracts of land behind all the developed strips. This would help to maintain a rural landscape, Van Beek said.

Supervisor Mae Wolfe said she feels the term "subdivision" is too strict when talking about dividing one parcel of land into two.

Other board members told her that's exactly what a subdivision is: Dividing one parcel into two or more parcels.

Van Beek explained new minor subdivisions will be planned differently. Instead of multiple access points off a town road, the new law would require clusters of lots off one subdivision access road.

The intent is not to hamper small-lot division, Van Beek said, but to discourage strip developing.

Since the county demands driveway separation, an option is to suggest shared driveways. Otherwise, driveways must be 200 feet apart, Van Beek explained.

Candace Bettendorf, W285 County Road SS, said she read the draft and questioned the term "farmette."

She read aloud that a farmette is a parcel of land no less than nine acres that requires two farm buildings besides the house; that the land be actively farmed, remain in a conservancy and can never be subdivided.

"Nobody's going to want a farmette," Bettendorf said. "If you have to have two buildings, farm it. This is so micromanaged. When are you guys going to have time to micromanage?"

Van Beek and Bloch explained the intent of the farmette, or hobby farm, is to give developers a number of choices since not one size fits all.

Van Beek said this would also help fill the requirement that a minimum of 25% of land in the town remain open space. People would buy the farmettes knowing they would remain open space.

Supervisor Dave Nelson said he sees a lot of red flags in the law and disagrees with many things in the draft. He feels the law isn't friendly to large landowners.

Nelson questioned why a subdivision access road can only be 1,000 feet long with a cul-de-sac.

Van Beek explained the county doesn't want a bunch of roads leading to nowhere, mainly for snowplows, buses and emergency vehicles.

They want the roads to lead somewhere and preferably join.

Board Chairman Jerry Olson halted the debate, saying the board only needs to understand the law, not agree with it, before the public meeting.

"If there isn't some deadline pushing us, we could be having the same conversation a year from now," Olson said. "Unless we have some deadline, I'm afraid we'll talk about this at every meeting."

Clerk Lola Higgins reminded everyone the Cooperative Boundary Committee wants the law passed before it meets with the city of River Falls to discuss future growth into the town.

The public meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday Sept. 17 at Town Hall.

Jo Haberman, 949 Quarry Road, said she would feel more comfortable if the board is not in a position to defend the law, but to listen to the residents.

Also at the meeting, the Town Board voted to override its resolution requiring bids be readvertised if only one bid is received, and awarded the Evergreen Road project to Monarch Paving.

The bid was competitive with the county estimate. There were five interested parties but only one bid came in.

Van Beek said it is likely due to the fact that many road construction companies are way behind due to this year's "freakish weather."

The cost of the project is not to exceed $621,581.

In other business:

nThe board voted to set the cost of a reserve liquor license at $20,000 and a regular license at $500.

nAn updated version of the road and driveway law was approved.

nSince the town's recycling shed was lost in a storm before it could be moved to a new site at the Town Hall, the board voted to send the issue to the Road Committee to see if building a three-sided shed at the Town Hall and gaining access off County Road JJ is a feasible plan.

nBoard members voted to adopt the Municipal Emergency Operations Plan, required by the county.

nNelson said he has noticed teenagers hanging out on the County Road JJ bridge, stopping traffic and removing signs. There have also been reports of underage drinking. People are instructed to contact the Sheriff's Department with complaints.