Franklin Township denies CUP to Old Apostolic Church

Old Apostolic Lutheran Church is outgrowing its building in Minnetonka, and the congregation has been looking at possible new locations in Franklin Township. At the first potential site, the church encountered resistance from neighbors about the necessary road improvements.

On Monday, Aug. 5, Old Apostolic brought a new proposal before the Franklin Town Board, which was short one member for part of the evening. The two remaining members failed to approve the church’s request for a conditional use permit (CUP) to locate a church and cemetery on 54 acres on County Road 13 S.E. The church would have a capacity of no more than 900 people, and Wright County would require 300 parking stalls.

A survey of the property shows nine wetlands and two would need to be filled, according to Old Apostolic’s plans. The church would work with Wright County on drainage issues.

Board chair John Czantskowski Sr. said land downstream from the property already floods out and northwest residents have expressed concern about water/ flooding issues with construction of the proposed church.

He asked a room full of residents whether they had comments or questions about the CUP request. After no one spoke up, he moved that the request be approved. The motion failed because board member DeWayne Bauman did not second it. Board member Mike Barfknecht arrived at the meeting after the discussion ended.

Bauman said the city of Delano has a comprehensive plan that shows the area being surrounded by Delano by 2030 at the latest. Delano is looking at the intersection of County Roads 13 and 30 as a commercial area. However, he considered Franklin Township to be an agricultural township, and with this church, the township would lose agricultural land. He was concerned about the amount of real estate involved. He thought 10 acres should be more than enough for building the church. The rest of the land should remain as agricultural.

Czantskowski also said he did not want to see farmland disappear.

Greg Halling, who represented Old Apostolic, agreed that the proposed church would be large. But the land would never be subdivided. Except for the church, this would be a green area for years to come. If the church is not built there, the land might be subdivided in the future.

Czantskowski said Wright County would make the final decision about the CUP application from Old Apostolic. The township will inform the county that the Town Board did not pass a motion for approval.

In other action, the Town Board approved the renewal of a CUP for property at Meridian Avenue S., Montrose for two years. The CUP enables Stuart and Romy Ackerberg to locate a mobile home on the property as a farm accessory for a full-time employee in their horse breeding operation. The Ackerbergs must meet all Wright County planning and zoning rules and regulations.

The Town Board also approved a CUP request from Mike and Renee Jaunich to have a contractor yard on property located on Dague Avenue S.E. The approval is contingent upon the Jaunichs meeting all Wright County planning and zoning rules and regulations.

-Compiled by Susan Van Cleaf