Money Creek golf cart debate continues
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 5:58 AM
"We'd just like to get it back to the way it used to be," Bud Fitting told the Houston County Board on Sept. 18.
Fitting was speaking on behalf of golf cart owners who utilize a campground (Money Creek Haven) near the village of Money Creek. He asked commissioners to allow carts to drive on CSAH 26 in order to reach township roads, specifically, those that run through Money Creek.
"The township has now passed it (regulations) so that we can run on township roads. Now we'd like to get something where we could come from the Haven up to Money Creek," he said.
"Now we (golf cart users) all have to get insurance and a township sticker," Fitting added. "As soon as we can get permission from the county, we'll be able to run into Money Creek like we always have."
Currently, the county does not allow golf carts on 26, Fitting said. That's in response to concerns from some Money Creek residents who questioned the legality of driving the diminutive vehicles on the highway.
Commissioner Tom Bjerke asked Sheriff Doug Ely about the legal issues involved.
"The statute says they can't drive on the county road unless the county approves it," he replied.
"The township can approve it (use of township roads), and they can cross Highway 76 at an angle, but as far as going down County Road 26, that's not authorized."
Money Creek resident Robin Danielson asked the board to deny Fitting's request, stating, "My question is, why do they need to leave the campground? I was assaulted because I was taking pictures to prove that they're still doing this (using 26) and crossing 76."
Danielson has made two visits to the board during the past year regarding the issue, complaining that the carts are a nuisance.
"They knowingly violate the law. I don't feel that they're safe in our neighborhood, and we don't need them. There's no reason why they should be there," Danielson said.
She claimed that underage or inebriated drivers are sometimes operating campground-based golf carts.
"We can't regulate vehicles in Money Creek," Bjerke said. "That's a township issue. We're just looking at one stretch of road that we have an ordinance on. We're not looking at allowing them on the whole length of 26. It would just be from the campground to Money Creek."
"I don't see an issue with it," Commissioner Justin Zmyewski said. He made a motion to allow golf carts to use CSAH 26 from Money Creek Haven to Highway 76 from dawn to dusk, stipulating a minimum age of 16 with proof of insurance and a valid driver's license.
Commissioner Teresa Walter seconded, but the issue was tabled when county engineer Brian Pogodzinski asked that he and Ely have a chance to review applicable statutes prior to the vote.
County in court over frac sand
Commissioners held another closed session to discuss frac sand issues with the county's land-use attorney Jay Squires.
They noted later that Minnesota Sands has filed a suit in district court, seeking "injunctive relief" from regulations placed on the Erickson mine near Rushford.
According to board members, the company postponed a Sept. 11 court date for 30 days in order to negotiate with the county on that mine, along with three other existing mines in Houston County, which they are considering for future sand production.
Personnel matters reviewed
The board appointed assessor Tom Dybing to a new four-year term, beginning Jan. 1, 2013.
They also voted to allow Pogodzinski to seek a 67-day temporary worker for his department.
The employee will be used on the engineering side, Pogodzinski said, since there are currently four county road projects under construction, with another scheduled this fall. Duties will include help with surveying, staking and inspections.
On a related note, the board voted 4-1 to hire David Unmacht of Springsted Incorporated to complete an "organizational review" of human services.
Zmyewski cast the lone "nay," stating later that he felt the $7,000 price tag for the study and the fact that it could "undermine our department head" made it a poor decision.
Human Services discussion
Miller directed Human Services director Linda Bahr to contact any and all neighboring and nearby counties that may be interested in sharing positions and services with her department, stating "that's your charge."
On the subject of a local human services redesign plan, he offered to contact the Bush Foundation to see if funding is available for planning.
Wildcat manager rehired
Also approved was a 2013 contract for the operation of Wildcat Park. Park manager Edward Lonkoski was asked to continue operating the facility.
The only changes to the park regulations for 2013 are a $50 deposit for shelter rental and the ability of the park manager to rent out un-reserved weekend sites one night at a time.
Snowmobile grants announced
Annual pass-through grants for four snowmobile clubs were approved. The La Crescent Trail Riders will receive $16,807 while Gopherland Trail Riders got $50,703. Houston Money Creek Riders will receive $23,885 while Viking Ridge Trail Riders will receive $18,386.