Amended ADU ordinance passes allowing garage addition

Wadena County Commissioners also approved ARPA fund requests for some cities in the county.

Pictures of homes with different additions.
A series of accessory dwelling unit (ADU) styles include detached, attached, interior, above garage and garage conversion.
Contributed / AARP

WADENA — County board members passed an amended ordinance allowing Accessory Dwelling Units on Wadena County property. This comes from the Planning and Zoning recommendation that says people can now add an accessory dwelling of up to 750 square feet, with a garage up to 375 square feet in addition to their principal dwelling.
The ADUs are meant to provide additional housing space for those that would like to live close to the primary home such as a parent or children of a parent. The housing was meant to offer lower cost housing with the convenience of living near each other.

Commissioner Jon Kangas was the only one opposed to the amended ordinance, saying he felt they should open up the zoning rules to allow for more units and larger sizes. He felt this would allow more housing and more tax capacity to the county. He considered the ordinance to be too restrictive.

Commissioner Murlyn Kreklau responded that this is a significant change to laws that have gone unchanged for many years. The original zoning rules were put in place to protect agricultural and forested land. He felt that there was room for more change, however.

“I think this is a small step in the right way,” Kreklau said.

Kreklau wanted to find a way to bring more business to the county by changing these zoning laws further.


“It seems to me we should find a way to encourage more businesses in rural areas in our 15 townships … but that’s something down the road.”

ARPA funding comes through for area cities

The cities of Menahga and Sebeka have more ARPA funds coming to them from Wadena County for water projects.

Wadena County Commissioners approved the second and final payment to help fund the cost of a new water tower in Menahga. The final payment was for $59,057. The tower project has a total cost of about $1.12 million. Materials are on site for the construction to begin.

Board members also approved a grant agreement with Sebeka, sending them $135,250 in ARPA funds to cover the cost of a critical water line project that provides another water line under the Red Eye River for the city. It currently has just one water line serving the area south of the river.

The city has committed CARES Act and ARPA funds towards this project.

Not every idea that was pitched for ARPA funds was greenlighted as many unrelated to water infrastructure were ineligible. Wadena County Auditor/treasurer Heather Olson mentioned ideas to pay off debt and replace street lights were not eligible.

The city of Wadena has one of the larger requests for funds. Those funds are expected to be requested at another upcoming meeting. No request has come from Verndale and nothing has been confirmed for Staples, according to Olson.

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in rural Deer Creek, Minn., where he is starting to homestead with his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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