Make county Planning and Zoning Office your first stop when planning projects

By Amy Kowalzek,  Guest Columnist

Spring brings green grass, budding trees, open water and construction projects of all sorts. This is the time of year the Morrison County Planning and Zoning Office is the busiest. Here are a few helpful tips to avoid delay in the permitting of your project and the potential for Land Use Control Ordinance violations:

1.The Planning and Zoning Office has jurisdiction outside incorporated city limits. If you live within any of the 16 incorporated city limits in Morrison County, the city is the zoning authority.

2. Allow plenty of time for the permitting of your project. Permits require a field check, so they are not granted the same day they are applied for.

3. Practically every structure, even if it is moveable, requires a land use permit. If you are in doubt, please call the Planning and Zoning Office prior to building to be sure a permit is or is not required.

4. Shoreland projects such as driveways, retaining walls, stairways, lifts and landings, decks, grade and fill and rip rap require a permit.

5. Certain land uses also require a permit. If you are thinking about starting up a business of any kind or putting farm animals on your property, please call the Planning and Zoning Office prior to establishing the use to see if permitting or performance standards apply.

6. If you are thinking about purchasing property, please call the Planning and Zoning Office prior to your purchase to discuss future construction plans. We can help you determine if your plans can be accomplished prior to your investment into the property.

7. New dwellings, dwelling additions and many activities within shoreland require a current septic system inspection by a licensed inspector before a permit can be issued. To avoid delay, check on the status of your septic system with the office.

Many times property owners rely on a friend or neighbor to tell them what is required to construct a building or establish a use. Unfortunately, this often results in misinformation and violations that could have been avoided.

Requirements change, so it is best to call the Planning and Zoning office directly for current information regarding your proposed project.

We welcome a stop in to the office or a phone call to discuss your plans. This will enable us to provide review and discuss any potential for issues that may not allow for permitting or additional requirements necessary to issue the permit.

The Planning and Zoning Office can be reached by calling (320) 632-0170. The office is located on the ground floor of the Morrison County Government Center, 213 First Ave. S.E., Little Falls.

Amy Kowalzek is the planning and zoning director for Morrison County.