Members of the public are encouraged to comment ahead or join the upcoming Wadena County Board of Adjustment virtually to hear topics of amending an ordinance related to in-home childcare, vacation rentals and a decision on a variance for a lake property.
One topic includes an application from Maureen Waterloo Buric and Dale. E. Waterloo for a variance to allow a division of a parcel of property creating a parcel less than 300 feet of width on a natural environment lake.
The other topic looks at adding language related to regulations of vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, bunkhouses and child care centers in various agricultural districts.
Wadena County Planning and Zoning Administrator Deana Malone shared that the proposed ordinance changes related to childcare facilities is an effort to reduce the hurdles for those looking to operate an in-home child care or adult care center.
"Childcare is in demand and we want to help them do this quicker and easier," Malone said. In the past requirements included a lengthy public hearing process to gain approval and a change might mean a simple administrative permit over the counter. Property owners must still comply with other rules including an appropriate septic system, it just allows for a speedier process in an effort to help increase childcare accessibility, which has been identified as a major need in the county.
Malone said she doesn't think the public hearing process has scared people away from opening a daycare in these settings, rather it can be a frustrating and costly process when they are ready to get started - now.
As for the vacation rental discussion, this is a topic Malone brought to the planning commission in the past to start the conversation. There was lengthy discussion on the topic as some see the need for neighbors to weigh in on a nearby property being opened for vacation rental. Others saw that if provisions were followed, there was little need for public input. Proposed language includes compliance with septic and parking parameters. Malone noted there is language that speaks to RV usage on agricultural district.
The following are some of the topics addressed in the amendments proposed under the A-1 transitional agricultural district, A-2 mixed agricultural-forestry district, A-3 general agriculture district, R-1 suburban residence district:
- Additions to proposed permitted uses include: In-home child or adult daycare; vacation rental homes; and bed and breakfast.
- Under the conditional use section, dog kennels for commercial use.
- Under the permitted accessory section, the addition of bunkhouse and home-based business language within the A-1 transitional agricultural district.
Proposed amendments to the B-1 highway service business district include adding farm implement sales and service under the permitted use section, no longer under conditional use section.
The public is encouraged to comment by email (email@example.com) or be sending written correspondence to: Wadena County Zoning Office, Room 234, 415 Jefferson St. S., Wadena, before close of the business day before the hearing. The Planning Commission notice states that in-person public comments will not be heard, thanks to COVID-19.
The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 20, at the Wadena County Courthouse.
Members of the public who wish to access the hearing remotely may contact the Planning and Zoning Office at 218-631-7604 before close of business day prior to the meeting.