PUBLIC HEARING: Tuesday, October 30 at 7 p.m. at the Canosia Town Hall
Canosia Township adopted its first Zoning Ordinance in 1976, about the same time that St. Louis County was beginning its efforts in regulating zoning. Since that time, our ordinance has continued to evolve in parallel with the county’s efforts and we have amended the ordinance ten times to keep it current with the increasing complexity of federal, state, county and local changes.
We are one of five townships in St. Louis County that administers its own zoning. Our ordinance is required to be at least as restrictive as the County Zoning Ordinance so our ordinance is fashioned after the county ordinance with few exceptions that are unique in Canosia requiring more restrictive rules. The current Zoning Ordinance was adopted on January 1, 2017. The town board recently reviewed potential amendments that may be included in the next ordinance update. During the review, we asked what the pros and cons would be for the county to do our zoning as they do in most other townships. Ongoing legal fees for ordinance enforcement have been a major expense for Canosia.
The town board decided to explore this option further and obtain more information by inviting Mary Anderson, the St. Louis County Land Use Manager, to the September town board meeting to provide information on the benefits and the process to follow if we were to make such a change. Mary explained that the county neither advocates for or against Canosia rescinding their ordinance and allowing the county to administer the zoning, but she did provide some of the pros and cons for those present to consider. She provided the following:
- The county has two offices (Duluth & Virginia) with a staff of six full-time planners.
- Permits can be obtained on-line or through a paper process.
- Land use permits are issued from the Duluth office.
- The turnaround for land use permits is normally a couple of days.
- Conditional use and variance hearings are mostly held at the Virginia office because it is central to the county, but are sometimes held in Duluth if all the cases on that date are from the southern part of the county.
- County zoning services are provided at no cost to the township.
- The county has the same permit fees as Canosia currently.
- County administration of zoning avoids any perception of favoritism or neighbors bossing neighbors.
- Overlay districts can be established to provide special regulations if needed for townships, lakes, etc. if requested by the township.
- Canosia residents can serve on the County Planning Committee or the County Zoning Board of Adjustment.
- A Township can adopt its own zoning ordinance again if the need arises.
The town board wishes to continue to explore this option by getting input from Canosia residents about making this change. A public hearing will be held on October 30, 2018, at 7 p.m. at the Canosia Town Hall to consider rescinding our current Zoning Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan. A county representative will also be present to provide information and answer our questions. Please plan to attend to learn more about this option and provide your input.
After receiving the public input and considering the evidence presented, the board must decide whether to keep our ordinance or accept the county zoning ordinance and comprehensive plan. If a decision is made to move forward with the township allowing the county to administer the zoning, the change could be in place for the 2019 construction season.
The board is not considering this change because what we have done in the past was the wrong thing. We have very dedicated residents doing a great job of serving our Township as the P&Z Director, P&Z Secretary, P&Z Commission members and Board of Adjustment members and the ordinance has served us well in the development of our town. We can be proud of how well our past and present volunteers have been able to learn and deal with routine and complex land use issues. But now we must consider whether the right thing for us, at this time, with our current needs, is to continue the extra expenses to duplicate the county’s efforts or to allow the county to administer the zoning for our township.
– Kurt Brooks, Town Supervisor and P&Z Chair