WHITE BEAR TOWNSHIP — Requests for variances took up a good portion of the June 3 Town Board meeting. All but one applicant got their wish.
Supervisors approved the following requests:
• A sideyard setback variance at 2630 South Shore Blvd. Homeowner Marilyn Svee plans to replace a one-car garage with a new, 24x24 foot garage.
Town Chair Ed Prudhon noted that it has “always been town policy to approve variances to allow two stall garages. It's a reasonable use.”
• Two 5-foot lot width variances for property at 514X West Ave. owned by Kent Jefferson. He plans to subdivide his vacant lot into two 20,000-square-foot pieces. The lots are 75 feet wide; standard is 80 feet. The lots vastly exceed minimum size, which is 12,000 square feet in the township, so the request was granted.
The board added conditions regarding drainage and easement access, and tacked on a park fee. There can be no variances on any new homes built on the property.
• A variance for an in-ground lakeside swimming pool at 5691 Orchard Ave. Rick and Kim Lucio also received approval for a green space variance. Prudhon felt the 392-square-foot pool was too close to the lake, but did not vote against it.
• A right-of-way setback variance at 5932 Hobe Lane. Homeowners Kevin and Julie Lund plan to replace a small detached garage with a 1,265-square-foot attached garage. A mud room accounts for 133 square feet of the total. The township normally allows 1,000 square feet maximum for a garage but there are exceptions: if lot size exceeds 22,000 square feet and/or property abuts water. The lakeside lot meets both requirements.
• A sign variance for White Bear Maker Space, 5966 Hwy. 61. The business is behind the Holiday Store and Bald Eagle Quick Stop off County Road J. Ordinance prohibits signage on adjacent property but since the business is tough to see from the highway, the board allowed an exception. The owners have permission to erect a simple 4x6 wood sign on the Bald Eagle convenience store property.
• Denied request by Westin Woods, a 130-unit apartment complex, to run sprinklers from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Town ordinance does not allow night irrigation. Supervisor Steve Ruzek felt it set bad precedent to “change policy” and “dilute” the ordinance. The board said it would not consider other requests to irrigate outside the ordinance so don't bother asking.
In other business June 3, the Town Board:
• Approved a modified landscape plan at the Three Oaks development.
Several neighbors spoke during a public hearing regarding oak trees that were supposed to be saved but were cut down on the south end of the North Oaks Company development.
Centerville Road resident Jake Walton lamented the loss of the large trees screening his property from the new homes. “I don't feel the company did their due diligence to save these trees. We will never see oaks of that size again. They wiped them out. It feels sneaky and underhanded. They should have shown more respect for those trees.”
Walton quipped that the development is called Three Oaks because there will only be three left on the property.
Prudhon commented, “unfortunately, this has happened before in the township.”
North Oaks Company Vice President Gary Eagles told the board the trees were diseased and needed to be removed. Existing trees on the west end of the site were also of higher elevation and did not provide the intended screening; something that shrubs would better accomplish.
The company's modified plan showed shrubs and 42 trees along the southern border. The original plan called for 58 trees.
The board approved a plan requiring 66 shrubs and the original 58 trees. Prudhon abstained as a nearby property owner.
Eagles noted that four lots have been sold so far of 28 in the development, which is being marketed to empty nesters looking for a one-level villa home design.
• Approved an archery deer hunt this fall at Tamarack Nature Center (Oct. 28-30 and Nov. 18-20); Otter Lake (Oct. 11-13 and Nov. 1-3); Poplar Lake (Oct. 11-13 and Nov. 1-3) and Benson Airport (Oct. 11-13 and Nov. 1-3). The hunt is coordinated by the Ramsey County Parks and Recreation Department as part of its deer herd reduction effort.
• Ended the probationary period for Town Clerk/Treasurer Pat Christopherson, giving him full-time status. “I don't think we could have hoped for anyone better to replace Mr. Short,” Prudhon told Christopherson. The clerk said he was “happy to be here.”
• Rescheduled the June executive meeting to June 21.