Gravel pit contract reviewed

File photo
The gravel pit in Vergas is seeking a permit for operation again this year. The Vergas Planning Commission will host a public hearing in April.

By Barbie Porter

Editor 

Landowner Keith Bunkowske requested a parcel be split so he can sell a lot along Scharf Avenue. He reported the third edition in his development includes eight lots on Long Lake and six back lots. Bunkowske said there was interest in building this year.

The planning commission asks for development plans be reviewed by the city engineer, KLJ. 

A lot split was requested by Keith Bunkowske in Vergas.

During the Vergas Planning Commission meeting on Monday, Feb. 28, KLJ engineer Scott Kolbinger said based on topography, it appeared if the current sewer system would cover the development and the sanitary main would be all gravity fed.  Some properties may need an injector pump, he noted. 

The concerns he expressed with the development plan had to do with the long road extension and limited water main access. Kolbinger explained the road is longer than average and offers no second access point. If an emergency were to happen, the road could be blocked and limit access to and from the properties. 

The planning commission was told if they wanted to ask for a road connection to be dedicated before the development is approved, that is an option. 

The water main also shows only one access to the new development.

The planning commission approved the lot split request, and agreed to set a public hearing. 

Discussion was held regarding potentially charging for engineer fees on developments that do not come to fruition.

Vergas City Clerk Julie Lammers estimated the city engineer cost to be between $1,000 and $5,000 on average. She said it all depends on the size of the development. Currently, the city pays for those costs. 

Lammers emphasized the Vergas Economic Development Authority, which also promotes residential growth in the city, prefers to reduce fees to make building in Vergas more attractive.

On the other hand, she said there are costs for the expertise of engineers. When a development doesn’t come to be, those costs are not recaptured as it would be if new structures were built and added to the tax roll. 

Brief discussion took place considering a up-front fee that would be returned if the development was completed. In the end, the planning commission decided to get feedback from the EDA first. 

Gravel pit permit reviewed

The planning commission were asked to approve operations of the gravel pit owned by Mark Sand and Gravel. A representative from the company said trees planted during the drought last year will be replanted, and work will continue to be done to improve slope grades. He noted the work is moving toward the center of the pit and away from the road.

The engineer survey of the pit had yet to be done, as the ground is still covered with snow.

The commission agreed to set a public hearing. If approved before the survey could be done, the project could be contingent on the engineer report finding no issues.

Townline Road letters to be resent

Photos by Barbie Porter
Easement offers for Townline Road in Vergas were sent certified mail but were still in transit. A second certified letter was said to be on its way.

The planning commission was updated on the city council’s progress on obtaining easements along Townline Road. Lammers said certified letters with offers for land easements were sent to property owners in January. However, no property owner received a letter. She said the city attorney checked and was told the letters are still “in transit.”

Lammers said the attorney will send out a second set of certified letters that requires response by March 15. 

Nuisance property update given

The planning commission heard progress was made with two properties with nuisance ordinance violations. Lammers said a property along Pelican Avenue was turned over to the Otter Tail County HRA. The property is being reviewed to determine if it is repairable or not.

The other property has a trailer house on it and was just sold. Lammers noted the new owner stated the property will be cleaned up by June.