Lakeville development plans concern neighbors 

City amended ordinances to make lot buildable

Neighbors are citing concerns after Lakeville City Council members this year changed city ordinances to allow development by permit on a nonconforming rural lot.

Neighbors are citing concerns after Lakeville City Council members this year changed city ordinances to allow development by permit on a nonconforming rural lot.

Located on the border of Burnsville, the northwest Lakeville 1.29-acre rural property that has concerned neighbors was subdivided in 1980 through Dakota County against city ordinance and without the city’s knowledge or approval.

Dan Licht, Lakeville planning consultant, said at the Planning Commission’s April 20 meeting that the error falls to Dakota County at the time for not having ensured the proper approvals by cities before granting the property’s subdivision.

The Lakeville City Council this spring backdated its ordinance to make the lot, owned by Glenn Klotz, a legal nonconforming use, meaning with approval of a conditional use permit, the land could be used to build a house in the rural area not served by city utilities and requiring a well and septic system.

City code previously required lots to be at least 10 acres and 300 feet wide to support a septic system but allowed an exception for those that existed prior to Nov. 7, 1977.

That ordinance was changed this May to make the date in the ordinance Jan, 1, 1984, opening the door for Klotz’s lot to develop.

Klotz is now requesting a conditional use permit for the property, approximately 100 feet wide, that would allow it to be sold as a residential lot in the rural area.

The Lakeville City Council is expected to consider the request at its July 17 meeting.

Neighbors have for months protested the change, citing special treatment and concerns the lot is not large enough to accommodate a future septic system after the first one reaches the end of its life cycle.

Neighbor Dan Callahan, who has lived in a neighboring house to Klotz’s property since his parents built it in 1967, cited concern the property does not allow space needed to replace a septic system when it fails.

He said if the lot was just yards away in the Burnsville boundaries, that city would not allow septic and well services after experiencing problems when smaller lot septic systems failed.

“That city requires at least a 2-acre minimum,” Callahan said at the April 20 Planning Commission meeting.

He called it “very, very bad precedent” to retroactively change requirements for rural development and asked for residents to have more input.

“It’s not good to back-date checks, so if we’re going to back-date an ordinance 40 years, that doesn’t make any sense,” Callahan said.

Lakeville Planning Commission member Karl Drotning said the city has amended its ordinances in the past to accommodate other nonconforming lots, many around local lakes.

He said when the property was subdivided, there was an expectation set, and when the property does develop, it will have to meet the same requirements of any unsewered lot.

Drotning said the conditional use permit requires plans to show where two septic systems go and meet all the setback requirements.

“So it’s held to a fairly high standard, the most important one being can you have your original septic and then the alternate one when the first one goes south if that happens,” Drotning said.

He called the lot size small, but said there are many lots in the area that also are non-conforming because they were subdivided as well.

“All this really is, is correcting a wrong where the county allowed it to be subdivided and created the expectations,” Drotning said.

Planning Commission Chair Jason Swenson then said he considered changing the ordinance to change the date retroactively was the most positive outcome they could have for the situation.

He noted there would be a public hearing process for any development on the lot that would have to take place.

“They have to meet the standards required for that at that time,” he said.

Callahan told Sun Thisweek he has nothing against development of the house, but is concerned there is not enough space to replace the septic system, which would require running 55,000 pound dump trucks that could damage neighboring homes’ foundations or crush the pipes of the first septic system.

He suggested Klotz purchase more frontage from neighbors to ensure the lot would have sufficient access to a replacement septic system.

Callahan said he is trying to protect the people who would eventually purchase the property, which is for sale.

Klotz did not return calls seeking comment.