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New county shoreland rules will take effect next month

The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners has approved a revised Shoreland Management Ordinance, which will take effect Aug. 1.

The revised ordinance conforms some language to state statutes and court rulings regarding variances and exemptions for contiguous lots, and cleans up some definitions and word usage.

Under the revised ordinance, site permits will be required for alterations to impervious surfaces and vision-obstructing fences, and buildings will be limited to 20 percent of impervious surface. Some presentation requirements have been added for permits, the administrator has been authorized to issue certain permits, and interim use permits have been added for temporary retention of an existing dwelling during construction of another.

Two sections of the ordinance are devoted to interim use permits and township authority.

An interim use permit may be issued for a replacement dwelling on a lot with an existing dwelling, and the continued use of the existing dwelling will be temporarily authorized during construction.

Applications for interim use permits must be made by an owner of the lot and are processed in the same manner as a conditional use permit.

-The prior dwelling structure shall be completely removed from the lot within one year of the issuance of the interim use permit.

-The interim use permit may authorize repurposing of the prior dwelling where it will no longer meet the definition of a dwelling and cannot be reused as a dwelling.

-Only one dwelling may be occupied.

By state law, townships may adopt their own shoreland management controls, as long as those controls are not inconsistent with or less restrictive than the county’s controls.

Townships must demonstrate to the county board that their proposed ordinances and administration are at least as restrictive as the county’s prior to final adoption by the township.

After adequate shoreland management controls are adopted by a township, property owners must obtain necessary permits and approvals as required in the township shoreland management controls.

The amendments to the county’s Shoreland Management Ordinance are located on the county website. Copies of the changes are also on file at the auditor’s office and the Office of Land and Resource Management at the Government Services Center in Fergus Falls.

Tom Hintgen, Otter Tail County Correspondent