Nov. 27, 2006

Hollywood Township: getting the job done

By Jenni Sebora

One thing that seems rather consistent among township boards is its cooperative working relationship to “get the job done” – whatever that may be.

That cooperative working relationship is certainly no exception for Hollywood Township.

“We have a wonderful working board – treasurer, clerk, supervisors – we work together well, 18-year Hollywood Township supervisor and present chair Curtis Thaemert said.

A typical township board meeting consists of going through the agenda minutes, including anything from the county level, the treasurer’s report and discussion of any items that are required for a particular meeting, whether it be approving or denying a permit or an annexation issue.

Although Hollywood Township consists of 90 to 95 percent agricultural land, that will most likely change as Thaemert sees more development coming “their way.”

Thaemert, who has lived in Hollywood Township all of his life, admits that this is somewhat difficult for him as he calls himself an agricultural person.

“Development is coming this way. I am an agricultural person, and it’s hard to see farm land taken away, but we have to deal with it,” Thaemert said.

As voted on by township residents, Hollywood Township continues to abide by the one house per forty acres land use plan. And most of the homes built in the township are by retired farmers, Thaemert noted.

But Thaemert noted that may not stay that way.

“It’s pretty stable at the present. That’s not going to last,” Thaemert said. Thaemert also added it’s up to the voters in the township to decide on what will happen in the township regarding development and the such.

Currently, the township is working with the City of New Germany on an annexation agreement for a new development named Trophy Lakes Estates.

“We’re trying to keep it as simple as possible (regarding the annexation agreement and process),” Thaemert said.

As the board has a good working relationship with each other, Thaemert also added that same relationship exists with the cities of New Germany and Mayer as well.

“We have a good working relationship with everybody,” Thaemert said, which includes the township’s maintenance employee, Charlie Burns.

“We have a super maintenance man. He is super to work with,” Thaemert said. Burn’s son, Steve, helps out when needed and is the back-up if Charlie has vacation or is sick, Thaemert noted.

Burns has about 46 miles of road in Hollywood Township to maintain. Thaemert noted that the job isn’t getting any easier as the traffic level has increased over time, which Thaemert estimates to be 50 to 75 percent greater than when he first started serving on the board.

Burns agreed, noting that people are more active, and everyone’s involved in something and has places to go, which affects the roads.

Farms are bigger too – bigger machinery and equipment which can be harder on the roads as well, Burns added.

One major issue that townships, including Hollywood Township, deals with are finding gravel, “good” gravel, as Thaemert put it.

Hollywood Township used to get its gravel from pits by New Germany, Mayer, Lester Prairie and Watertown, but those pits have been depleted.

Currently, the township has its gravel delivered from a pit by Maple Lake. And Thaemert noted for Hollywood Township it has been cheaper to have it delivered versus getting the gravel themselves because of the location of the pit.

“We’ve been coming out better having it (gravel) brought in,” Thaemert noted. Burns agreed noting that distance of the pit and fuel costs play a part.

It takes the big trucks about three days to haul in the township’s gravel equipment versus Burns doing it with township equipment, which would take almost the whole summer to do it, Burns noted.

“If (township) had own gravel pit, it would be no question, I would do it myself,” Burns said.

Plowing and removing snow is another big task for the township, and to help with this and other tasks, the township recently purchased a tandem truck from Watertown Township, which totals two trucks for the township.

Hollywood Township is designated as an agricultural area.

In fact, nearly 60 percent of the township’s 23,040 total acres are in agricultural preserve, according to Carver County Land and Water Services Director Dave Drealan.

There are, however, two special districts that have a designation that sets them apart from the rest of the township.

These rural service districts, which surround the Hollywood Sports Complex and the Hollywood Ranch House, allow permits for certain commercial businesses that otherwise would not be allowed, according to Drealan.

When the county began looking at zoning issues in the late 1960s, it encountered population centers or “little towns that didn’t make it” that did not fit in with the over-all agricultural land use, Drealan explained.

These areas were often centered around a church or a business.

There were seven of these areas in Carver County, including the two in Hollywood Township.

Drealan said that each county deals with these situations in different ways, but Carver County chose to use rural service districts.

“We looked at this as something that fit our situation,” Drealan commented.

He explained that in the agricultural district, only certain businesses, such as contractors’ yards, are allowed. In the rural service districts, however, other very specific commercial businesses are permitted.

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