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August 17, 2015

Greenwood Township Planning Commission Meeting – August 17, 2015


Chr. Jeff Lind called the meeting to order at 1:00 pm.


Present: Chr. Jeff Lind, Vice-Chr. Mark Drobac, TB Rep. Gene Baland, Gary Boutto, Jerry Lepper, Chuck Richards, Director Julia Maki, Clerk Ellen Trancheff. Absent: Laurie Milbridge


MOTION Richards/Lepper to approve the June 15 meeting minutes. Approved 6/0


Director’s Report:


1-Complaint filed anonymously and one from Town Board Supervisor John Bassing regarding RV parks and decks. Questions were asked regarding the need for permits for decks.


Director Maki explained that she spoke to Mary Anderson from St. Louis County Planning and to the Township Attorney, Tim Strom. The RV park in question was Trancheff’s Cabins. Director Maki advised that this property has been a commercial use property for decades, prior to any zoning and therefore “grandfathered in”. Attorney Strom is an expert on grandfathered uses and gave a presentation last fall on that subject. It was noted by Mary Anderson that the county attempts to monitor when and where RV’s put in decks, issuing a few permits a year. Other resorts that have RV’s are Forest Lane, Everett Bay, Daisy Bay. The township has never issued permits for the RV’s or decks. Attorney Strom advised that to try to issue permits for RV’s when they can be moving site to site, leaving the township to the county zoned area could be an enforcement nightmare.

Director Maki noted that in her 5 years with the township, she has never had this complaint before. She received numerous complaints about all types of issues.
Mark Drobac asked how many RV sites were at Trancheffs. Director Maki commented it was irrelevant as once again, the resort is grandfathered in.

Chairman Lind commented that we don’t want to over-regulate and 1 anonymous complaint should not be a concern.

Mark Drobac asked if Trancheffs Cabins met the sewer codes and if the resort was licensed? He was advised that this is not the Planning Commissions issue.


2-E-mail from Town Board Supervisor John Bassing regarding ex-parte communications with the complaint that Town Board Supervisor Gene Baland speaking to BayView in attempt to find a solution. Director Maki commented that Attorney Tim Strom advised that Supervisor Baland was acting as a citizen in an attempt to find a solution for all sides.

If a member has had an issue of finding more information, they need to let the commission know and disclose the information. The problem would be if a member states out in public or to an applicant how that member would vote. Director Maki cautioned that members need to be diligent during any public hearing process by speaking as little on the subject until the hearing.

Chr. Lind commented that what Gene Baland was doing was seek a reasonable solution. He added that the Planning Commission’s job is to support and assist the township.

Gene Baland commented that he met once in an effort to see if there was a way to open up discussion. After that, nothing more has been done.


3-Fences. Jerry Lepper provided the members with photos of fences within the township. Members agreed that a pamphlet could be developed with best management practices of where and how to put up a fence.


4-Blight. Chuck Richards provided the members with a sample letter to send to property owners regarding blight issues on their property.


MOTION Richards/Lepper to approve the blight sample letter and forward to the town board for approval.

Motion approved 6/0. Note that there may be some changes to the wording of the letter and the letter would

be sent upon complaints.


5-Chuck Richards provided the members with an article about Run Off on the lakes.


6-St. Louis County Ordinance 62. Director Maki provided the members with copies and gave a work plan for going through the Ordinance, which will take through April 2016. She advised that the attorney said she could use both the township and county ordinance where the county is more restrictive. She advised that the county board approved the ordinance and 3 days later it was in effect, not giving the township a chance to review. Major changes were land alteration permit fees and lot coverage changes.

Mark Drobac commented that the township should adopt the county ordinance right now.

Jerry Lepper agreed with Director Maki that the document needs to be gone through and it can’t be done in a day.


MOTION Richards/Baland to adopt the work plan for the Ordinance changes as provided by Director Maki.

Motion approved 5/1 with Drobac voting no.


7-Signs. Director Maki reviewed a complaint about a sign and found the size appropriate. Notes the township has never regulated signs.


8-Agenda. Clerk Trancheff will prepare a sample for the next meeting.


MOTION Baland/Boutto to adjourn at 2:32 pm.



Respectfully Submitted,




Ellen Trancheff-Clerk Jeff Lind-Chairman