By Ryan Gueningsman
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, MN Franklin Township officials confirmed last Monday night that underground cable owned by Xcel Energy in the Fountain Lake area will remain underground.
Xcel Energy had submitted a right-of-way permit application from the township for work on cable lines in the area, and had considered replacing some underground lines with ones above-ground.
Scott Johnson of Xcel Energy told the board and those in attendance at Monday’s meeting the line that is currently underground will be buried underground again. He also noted Xcel Energy would like to install the cable as far away from the roadway as possible. Tree and brush clearing on the outer edges will be taken care of by Xcel.
Johnson said there will be multiple power outages during the days when the new cable is installed, and he did not give specific dates for the installation. Summer/fall is the timeframe Xcel energy is looking at now. Customer notification will happen before the outages as to when and how long the outages will be, it was noted.
Discussion also took place at the meeting that Xcel Energy has issues with why the permit request was denied in the first place, and said it is drafting a letter back to the township stating those issues.
It was noted that in the future, not everything will be buried, and that Xcel’s plan is to put lines overhead whenever possible. Xcel Energy said this is because outages are found to be shorter, it is easier to maintain, and is also less expensive for the resident.
Township Supervisor Bill McMullen and Johnson had further discussion on the areas of right-of-way, with Johnson asking residents who were present if they would be interested in granting an easement for Xcel Energy to move further away from the road. Residents indicated they couldn’t answer that at this time.
McMullen said he is fairly certain that within the area of road surface and the area actively maintained by the township, there is enough room for Xcel Energy to work in.
He suggested modifying the current application, and said the township will have its road engineer and attorney review it again and move as quickly as possible for Xcel Energy.
Johnson added the company is in need of the township’s help as to where the right-of-way is before it goes any further. No action was taken on the issue.
Rivendell Addition street discussed
Stephanie Breimon, who lives in the township’s Rivendell Addition, addressed the township board about rock on the tar roadway.
She believes the tar road is maintained like a dirt road, and said the residents swept it themselves last year. The township board indicated all roads in the township are treated the same, and that an ice storm Christmas Eve forced the township to spread chip rock for traction.
It was noted it is likely residue from this that Breimon is seeing now. She said the homeowner’s association would rather have the township not salt and sand in the winter and that they would take care of it themselves.
Township Supervisor Mike Barfknecht said that from a liability standpoint, it is not an option for the township. It was noted Franklin Township is, by nature, rural with more than 60 miles of township roads being gravel.
The board discussed doing things differently when plowing and sanding in the future. Barfknecht said the board will try its best to take care of the situation.
The homeowner association president asked if the township has set a maintenance policy for the roads that he could share with residents of the association.
The board explained that the spring/summer are the best times to grade and apply dust control. The board also discussed the township plan for granite, and the positive results that have been realized so far on the township roads.
Neighbors concerned with Nature’s Nest
Catherine Rose of Nature’s Nest, located on Brighton Avenue, had requested approval of a set-up license.
Rose was not present at the meeting, but a neighbor of Rose’s was, who stated she understands the conditional use permit (CUP) request is moving forward, and wanted to make sure the township board heard from those who oppose the set-up license.
Township Board Chairman John Czanstkowski Sr. stated the CUP expires Dec. 31, 2010. McMullen added that the request for the set-up license was tabled with no prejudice at the April meeting. The board added it is not in the position to deny anything, and left the item tabled.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• heard of complaints being called in about tree branches hanging over the road and the need to keep up on tree trimming.
• heard that McMullen attended the Highway 12 corridor land use plan meeting in Montrose and had nothing new to report (see related story).
• appointed election judges for the township as Nancy Ganzel, Lyle Kantrovich, Bill Hoerneman, John Czanstkowski Sr., Deborah Hagen, Renata Russek, Stephanie Russek, Mary Ann McKay, Geri Hagelin, Gail Ditsch, Rebecca Schaust, Janice Kittock, David Sell, and Alston Steinbach.
• authorized the solicitation of quotes for seal coating and striping in conjunction with the City of Delano.
• approved a variance request from Leslie and Betty Anderson to divide an 80-acre parcel into two parcels, with the condition that it meets all requirements and regulations of Wright County Planning and Zoning.
This article written with assistance from the Franklin Township draft minutes.