Henrietta, city plan two open houses
During the past 10 months, only half a dozen residents sat in on Henrietta Township-Park Rapids Growth Management Task Force meetings. Now that the task force has agreed to the terms of an orderly annexation agreement, members are encouraging the...
During the past 10 months, only half a dozen residents sat in on Henrietta Township-Park Rapids Growth Management Task Force meetings.
Now that the task force has agreed to the terms of an orderly annexation agreement, members are encouraging the public to attend two open houses and have their questions answered.
The first open house will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 7 and the other will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, June 12. Both are in the Northwoods Bank community room.
"This will be a great opportunity for people to come out and get the right information about what's going to happen," said Ryan Leckner, chairman of the Henrietta Town Board. Leckner said he also is anxious to share the ways the agreement will be good for the community.
"I'm looking forward to sharing information with the public about this important endeavor which shows the township and city working together on a mutually beneficial course, while striving to ensure a progressive and healthy community," said Brenda Carpenter, township clerk.
"This is the time to put to bed all the rumors and misinformation," added Park Rapids City Administrator Brian Weuve. "It's the time to ask questions and get information."
Mayor Ted Godfrey agreed. "This will give the residents of Park Rapids and Henrietta a view of what we've done and a chance to ask questions," Godfrey said.
One of the benefits to the community will be the application of one zoning ordinance over the city and the annexation area, said Nancy Carroll, council member who serves on the city planning commission.
"Currently, property owners can be confused about which governmental entity to contact for building permits, planning and zoning issues," she explained.
"I think it makes sense to have the city's comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance guide the commercial development along Highway 34," she added. "Having one zoning ordinance means city staff can better coordinate the extension of municipal services for our growing area."
Tough sledding at first
Bothered by ongoing "piecemeal annexation" and rumors that Wal-Mart was going to build in the city, Henrietta Township officials met with the city council in November 2004.
By that time, city officials were seasoned in the process of orderly annexation, having resolved a 10-year dispute with Todd Township in mediation.
At a joint meeting with Henrietta Township officials in November 2004, Godfrey said the city could have financed extending sewer and water to Deane Point and along Fish Hook River and Fish Hook Lake with the attorneys' fees the city paid during the 10-years battle with Todd Township.
"If I thought working with you would be like Todd Township, I would go home right now," council member Clyde Zirkle had said. "Everything about working together is good for both sides."
City and township officials agreed to the possibility of establishing a joint planning group in November 2004.
The Growth Management Task Force talks started last August after the city and township chose Cliff Tweedale of the Headwaters Regional development Commission as moderator.
At the first meetings and those in the succeeding months, task force members agreed on four components of an orderly annexation agreement: sewer and water policy, planning and zoning, annexation and revenue sharing.
In the end, Tweedale summed up the benefits:
n Both jurisdictions have a voice in the development of the annexed area.
n The greater Park Rapids community is better positioned to address future problems and take advantage of new opportunities on the east side of town.
n Individuals who need central sewer and water will have it available.
n The city and township have improved predictability for their own planning and budgeting efforts.
n Each jurisdiction and property owners have ample time to adjust to changes.
n Each jurisdiction has resources for long-term health and viability.
n The two jurisdictions can put disagreements behind them and focus on other issues that could benefit from a cooperative approach.
In addition to hosting the open houses, the timetable for final resolution includes attorneys reviewing the proposed agreement and bringing it to a formal vote by both the city and township in August.