Crane Lake Township

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10/10/22 Bayside Drive Hearing Minutes



October 10, 2022 – 2:00PM



The October 10, 2022 Bayside Drive Public Hearing was called to order by Chairman Jerry Pohlman at 2:03PM with the Pledge of Allegiance recited by those in attendance including: Dan Hinzmann, Rose Kopecky, & Jason Chopp of S.E.H.; Eric Fallstrom & Andy Butler of St. Louis County Public Works; Gary Cerkvenik & Jeff Anderson of The Costin Group; Township Attorney Roy Christensen; Supervisors Brandon Anderson, Jim Janssen and Jerry Pohlman; Deputy-Clerk Gretchen Janssen; Clerk Jo Ann Pohlman, and five community members – including those via telephone.


Jerry introduced Project Manager Dan Hinzmann of S.E.H. and turned the hearing over to him.


Dan explained that Bayside Drive was currently a private road that was being considered, through Board action, to change from a private road to a public township road.  A petition calling for the Board to act on making Bayside Drive a township road was received by the Board in April of 2022.  Dan reviewed the agenda.  Dan introduced the Township’s attorney, Roy Christensen.


Dan further explained that with the addition of the Township Visitor Center and Campground, traffic would likely increase on Bayside Drive posing safety concerns.  There are funds available for the road upgrade from the State Park Road Account amounting to $487,000 upon declaration of Bayside Drive as a public road and with the requirement that their road specifications are followed.  IRRR Funds amounting to $250,000 have been awarded to the Township for the Bayside Road upgrade.  Dan referred to the drawings he brought to the meeting, explaining that the gravel portion of the road is currently 16’ wide and the upgraded road would be 26’ wide.  Dan asked the St. Louis County Public Works representatives to speak to the process following public road approval.  There would need to be a survey exhibiting each parcel of property along the road.  Each property would need to be appraised for damages.  Board approval would then be needed before the road would be recorded as public.


Public Comments:


Public safety concerns – Three left hand turns need to be made to approach the DNR Public Access with RV’s and/or vehicles trailering boats increasing safety issues with increased traffic.  Answer:  Concerns are valid; upgrading the road may not address all safety concerns, but it will improve safety as a whole.


Comment of increased noise by vehicles and people, and vehicle headlight pollution with increased traffic.  Answer:  There have been no studies done.  The perception is that it will be reasonably the same as it is now.


Will there be a walkway access for people returning to the Visitor Center/Campground after they launch their boat at the Public Access?  Answer:  No, most will be returning their vehicle to the VC/CG and traversing Bayside Drive again to pull their boat each day. An easement of right-of-way wasn’t able to be established.


How will flooding be addressed with road upgrade?  How will properties be protected? Answer: The road will be raised allowing water to flow through appropriately sized culverts.  The road would be more like an island than a dam.  Culverts will be installed at no expense to the property owners.


Why won’t Bayside Drive become a County Road?  Answer:  This was discussed with the County.  The County is willing to support the project as the financial agent, but is not willing to assume ownership.


To receive State Park funding, does the road have to be a county road?  Answer:  No.


Clarification was requested on the MN DNR Public Access near Handberg’s Marina accessed by a county road, the county launch near Voyagaire accessed by Gold Coast Road, and the Bayside Drive MN DNR Public Access accessed by a private road.


Gary Cerkvenik explained the grant awards that have been secured and will be available for the road work once the road is declared public.


What are cost estimates and are all expenses included?  Answer:  SE.H. is comfortable with the grant funds available covering expenses including design, permitting, construction.  It may be close.


Bayside Drive Public Hearing – 10/10/22

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What funds are available for maintenance once the road is upgraded?  Answer:  The Township will need to pay for maintenance.  An option is to contract with SLC for plowing and grading. The current cost to have St. Louis County plow only is $975/mile.  Other maintenance would be provided by the Township.


What would be the construction start date:  Answer:  Spring of 2023.


Gary Cerkvenik addressed the expense issue by stating that the Township is looking at three projects as one – Visitor Center, Campground, Bayside Drive upgrade – All work together to build the Township.  The VNP rental of space in the Visitor Center and income from the Campground should allow the town to keep expense (by levy) to the Crane Lake residents low or none at all. Gary estimates the cost to the Township to maintain the road would be around $3,000 per year.


What could delay the construction beginning?  Answer:  The US Army Corps of Engineers has not signed off on the project yet.


How long would the project last and how will resident access to their properties be affected?  Answer:  The project would last 2 or 3 months. Contractor would need to ensure emergency access as well as reasonable access for use. Contractor will be required to maintain access as contract states.   Access may change on a daily basis and may only be allowable at certain times.


What about access and inconvenience for customers to vacation rental homes on Bayside Drive?  Answer:  This will be an important thing to be taken into consideration with the note that road construction happens everywhere and people need to deal with it.


Would a private owner be able to keep the current Bayside Drive access to Handberg Road as a private road?  Answer:  St. Louis County did not see a problem with it.


Concern with east-west portion of road being too far south.  Homeowner would prefer road to be farther north.  Answer:  This will be reviewed during the next states of design.


Concern for maintaining east edge of road at existing edge of road.  Can a resolution be made to ensure the road is designed and constructed that way? Answer:   If needed, the Town can make another resolution to cancel the first one.


Roy Christensen remarked that a copy of the resolution will be provided to every property owner on Bayside Drive and information could be included about rentals.


At 2:50PM those present walked Bayside Drive and returned to the meeting at the Fellowship Hall at 3:40PM where Public Comment continued.


There was a request to move the power lines to the west of the upgraded road.


The concern about noise, lights, and flooding were reiterated.


Would like to see local contractor or supplies to stimulate local economy.  Answer:  The project will be bound to state bidding laws, but we can conduct outreach so local contractors are aware of the opportunity.


Concern for erosion control for road and boat landing development.  Answer:  DNR will have to follow MPCA guidelines.


Why not center Bayside Drive on existing centerline on north-south portion?  Answer:  More homeowners on the east side of the road would be impacted vs the west side of the road.


Is there a design for the upgrade of the Public Access?  Answer:  There was a conceptual design made about four years ago, but the DNR has not provided a design.  The design of the Public Access is not part of the Township’s project.  Assistance has been provided to the DNR by the Costin Group to acquire funding.


Are there any other 24-hour access points in Crane Lake available for customers?  Answer:  The Public Access near Handberg’s Marina is available and quite often full; and the County access on Gold Coast Road is well used.  The Public Access on Bayside Drive is the largest of the three and could provide the most parking.

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It was stated that a direct route from the Visitor Center to the Public Access would be preferred by the Bayside Drive residents; rather than using Bayside Drive.


Gary Cerkvenik stated that the County would have the project sent out for bid, rather than the Township.  S.E.H., as the engineering firm, would have an inspector on site to oversee the project.


Is there a DNR Public Access design available?  Answer:  No, the DNR will not go forward until funding is secured.


Jim Janssen thanked Gary Cerkvenik and Jeff Anderson for acquiring funding for the projects.


A motion was made by Jim, supported by Brandon, to close the public comment period.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


A motion was made by Brandon, supported by Jim, to adopt Resolution #2022-07 Conditionally Establishing Bayside Drive as a Township Road.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.




The meeting was adjourned at 4:02PM







Jo Ann Pohlman, Clerk                                                              Jerry Pohlman, Chairman

































This draft of the Crane Lake Township minutes has been posted solely for preliminary informational purposes.  Minutes are unofficial and subject to change until they have been approved.