By Ryan Gueningsman
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, MN Several changes were recommended by Franklin Township Sept. 7 for Mike and Katie Dickerman of Woodland Hill Winery.
An existing permit is in place for the Dickermans to operate a winery business with tours, sales, and tasting. Following recommended approval from the township board, final approval will now be sought from Wright County Planning and Zoning.
Board Chairman John Czanstkowski Sr. stated that Woodland Hill Winery was not in compliance with the original conditional use permit issued.
The Dickermans were present at the board meeting to request several changes be made to the permit so the business would be in compliance.
The first change was changing the days of operation from Thursday through Sunday to Wednesday through Sunday. The earliest start time will be 11 a.m. The township board had no issues with the addition of the day.
The second change was changing the months of operation from May through December to year-round. The board also had no issues with the request for year-round operation.
The third change the Dickermans requested was that the eight hours open per day be changed to 12 hours open per day to accommodate seasonal daylight and occasional events.
Mike Dickerman said he would like the flexibility to be open longer if he has an event to be open for. The board had no issues with the hour restriction being lengthened to 12 hours.
The final issue the Dickermans discussed with the township board was the maximum people count on site at one time. The present limit is 100, and the Dickermans wish to increase that number to 375 to accommodate seasonal/occasional events, festivals, and educational demonstrations.
It was noted the Dickermans do not anticipate exceeding 20 such events throughout the year. McMullen said he had concern with 375 people, and felt this may be a decision to be made by Wright County.
Czanstkowski also expressed concern regarding the number, and felt that decision would be best made by the county. As long as it is a compatible business to the agricultural zone, the board felt it may be alright on a seasonal basis. It was noted the township board doesn’t have an objection to the request, but felt the county may have a better grasp at the people count and number of events per year.
The board took action to recommend approval of the changes to days of operation, months and hours of operation, and to let the county decide on the maximum people count for the site. The board also recommended the conditional use permit be reviewed every two years.
Recycling schedule to see slight change
A request was made by Wright Recycling to change the recycle pickup schedule from twice per month to every other week.
This change will mean there will be two more pickups per year, and it will take affect in January.
McMullen asked if the rate will remain the same per month and per year, even though two additional pickups will be added with the change. Clerk/Treasurer Denise Olson said she will check this with Wright Recycling.
The board approved the schedule change with the condition the annual costs stay the same.
Right-of-way request tabled by board
The township board discussed a right-of-way permit request from Xcel Energy for Brighton Avenue from Highway 12 to the north.
Xcel is planning to install an overhead line to relocate the current line behind properties that have tree overgrowth and storm damage on Brighton Avenue.
The board decided it needs more information regarding Xcel’s intent with the existing line, and also some legal recommendations before approving the right-of-way permit.
The request was tabled until more information from Xcel Energy and the township attorney is received. McMullen said if the township can find out Xcel’s intentions with the existing line, it could go forward sooner than the board’s October meeting.
Odds and ends
In other business, the township board:
• accepted a conditional use permit review for Calvin Brandt of 72nd Street SE, who has a 1,500 foot private airstrip on his property.
McMullen said he has never received a complaint regarding the airstrip. The board approved accepting the permit as it stands, and will review it again in two years.
• heard from Delano mayoral candidate Harlan Lewis, who spoke about several things the city and township have in common, including schools, Highway 12, and the historical society. He said, if elected, he’d like to do some joint ventures with the township.
• discussed drainage issues in the area of Highway 12 and Ault Marine.
It was noted a visit by township officials took place after a large rain and there was water in the storage units, however, very little water was observed traveling through the culvert. The shed is at a lower elevation than the culvert.
There is a higher area with vegetation before the water reaches the culvert. Discussion took place if a new culvert is the remedy needed. Czanstkowski will discuss the issue further with property owner Doug Ault.
• heard from a township resident who has a neighbor that burns garbage. The township board suggested the best way to deal with this is to call the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, as this is a violation.