Corcoran nixes new community solar gardens

Community solar gardens, dog kennels, the firearm safety program and much more got attention from the Corcoran City Council on Thursday, Sept. 28. Here are meeting highlights.

COMMUNITY SOLAR GARDENS

The City Council approved a zoning ordinance amendment that prohibits new community solar gardens. The ordinance change will not affect the two community solar gardens, one on 40 acres and one on 80 acres, which recently got city approval. Both sets of solar arrays are ground mounted.

Corcoran landowners still are allowed to have accessory solar arrays for their own use.

Council action ended the moratorium that the City Council had enacted in May after a controversy over city approval of a community solar garden located across the street from a residential area in Greenfield. The moratorium prohibited construction of community solar gardens in all rural residential and urban reserve zoning districts.

DOG KENNEL PERMITS

The City Council approved home occupation licenses for two different commercial dog kennel operations. One of them, Good Dogs Minnesota, is located at 10220 Trail Haven Road, and the other, Red Barn Pet Retreat, is located at 19520 Stieg Road.

City Planning Consultant Kendra Lindahl said the city processes these types of home occupation licenses as interim use permits. They have end dates and are tied to the people who hold them. The operations are inspected every three years and cannot be expanded without City Council approval. City ordinances define as kennels anything to do with breeding, grooming, boarding or training of dogs.

Lindahl described the Good Dogs request. Kellee Zenk, the owner, would have on the property nine dogs, two of which are her own. She would board and train up to three dogs enrolled in a program that would last two to eight weeks.

Also, she would hold classes for owners and dogs for up to four dogs. The classes would run for 90 minutes per day up to four days per week.
Zenk would board and train dogs in her basement and also conduct training in an outdoor fenced area.

The City Council unanimously approved the Good Dogs request, which was for a new interim use permit.

The request from the Red Barn Pet Retreat was for an expansion of an interim use permit that the City Council approved in August 2016. The council approved the amended IUP on a 4-1 vote. City Councilor Tonya wanted the issue to get a public hearing and decided to vote no.

Planner Lindahl said city staff had agreed to process the Red Barn request as a minor change to the IUP. If the council were to find that the request is a significant change, staff could be directed to set up a public hearing. She suggested approving the IUP amendment.

She explained that the number of pets allowed would not exceed the maximum of 60, which the council approved originally. The number of dogs that would be kenneled would be increased. The business would now be operated in three rather than two buildings. An outdoor fenced pet area would be expanded.

FIRE ARMS SAFETY PROGRAM

The City Council accepted $8,300 worth of donations from area businesses, organizations and individuals that made possible the recent Corcoran Police Fire Arms Safety training.

The council also recognized the training team that conducted the 36th annual event. The team consisted of members of the Corcoran Police Department, Corcoran Police Reserves, Public Works staff, a conservation officer from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and a contingent of 18 community volunteers.

City Councilor Jon Bottema said one of the trainers called the Corcoran program the best he has seen in the state.

OTHER

The City Council also:

GAVE FEEDBACK on a sketch plan from Pulte Homes of Minnesota showing the Encore single family housing development proposed for 113 acres of land at 9975 County Road 101.

AUTHORIZED city staff and Pulte Homes to obtain a feasibility study that would provide estimated costs for extending trunk sanitary sewers for one mile in northeast Corcoran to reach the proposed Encore development containing 208 homes.

APPROVED the final plat for the Gmach Farm subdivision at 22525 County Road 117. The council also approved a variance from lot width requirements for two of the four lots. The original farm occupies the largest, 31.7-acre lot. The other three lots range from 2.43 to 2.97 acres in size.

APPROVED the request of Kevin and Sherri Hoppe to consolidate two lots on property at 9815 Rush Creek Blvd.

ACCEPTED a donation of $10,000 from the Corcoran Lions for the Meister Field improvement project.

APPROVED a one-year agreement under which Corcoran will pay $5,000 for the use of Rockford School District property located adjacent to Corcoran City Park.

APPROVED the request of Ernie Mayers to enroll six parcels of land in the Metropolitan Agricultural Preserve Program. The parcels are located at 21301, 21600 and 21135 Larkin Road. They span a total of 177 acres.