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Friday March 14, 2008

Onamia Council:

No Ordinary Ordinance  

Mille Lacs News Staff Writer

When the Onamia city council sets forth to "git 'er done" for Nexus, nothing will stop them. Not even the Law. In order to circumvent Spot Zoning, somewhere along they way, they decided to zone the property R2 and amend an ordinance to allow juvenile sex offender facilities as a permitted use in a single family residential zone. That didn't work.

Minnesota Statute 462.357 subdivision 7 clearly states that  "a residential facility whose primary purpose is to treat juveniles who have violated criminal statutes relating to sex offenses or have been adjudicated delinquent on the basis of conduct in violation of criminal statutes relating to sex offenses shall not be considered  a permitted use."

They went back to the drawing board.

They once again hired Bob Ruppe, the city attorney to amend another ordinance which would allow a sex offender facility into a R2 zone under a conditional use permit.

Onamia Ordinance No. 82 subdivision 4 - Conditional Uses.

"D. Residential treatment and educational facility for minors who have been adjudicated as sex offenders or have committed felony level sex offences that have been referred to the facility by the juvenile courts, county social services departments, probation officers and social workers, ..."

Sound familiar? Compare Onamia's ordinance which permits sex offenders to State Law which forbids them. State law forbids putting these kind of sex offender facilities into residential areas as permitted use. So the Onamia city council allowed them into residential areas as conditional use.

But that doesn't work either.

Minnesota Statute 462.357 subdivision 8 goes on to say that: "Except as otherwise provided in subdivision 7 or in any town, municipal or county zoning regulation as authorized by this subdivision, a state licensed residential facility serving from 7 through 16 persons or a licensed day care facility serving from 13 through 16 persons shall be considered a permitted multifamily residential use of property for purposes of zoning."

The Onamia city council might misinterpret that part of the law to say that they have the power to zone sex offenders into a residential area, but that just isn't so. The law is giving the city council the power to prohibit a licensed residential facility or day care. Not to zone for the inclusion of  94 juvenile sex offenders! The law is very specific about juvenile sex offender facilities not being permitted into residential neighborhoods. The Onamia city council and their lawyer got it ass-backwards.

Our neighborhood is zoned R1, except for the inappropriately R2 zoned Nexus property. Nexus should be zoned institutional  or commercial. Spot zoning.

Also note that the law is very definite about the number of persons allowed in a day care facility. Sixteen maximum. And yet, Onamia is trying to put 94 convicted juvenile sex offenders into the R1 neighborhood. Don't you wonder what they're going to do with the other 78 sex offenders?

Maybe its not too late. Perhaps Nexus would consider selling the 38.81 acres back to the city so that the council could build a licensed day care facility serving a small group of governmentally retarded adults.

some of the

Conditions:

1. Adequate screening and buffering from abutting and adjoining residential uses is provided. [A fence is not allowed, but sticky bushes have been discussed...]

2. All signing and informational or visual communication devices shall be in compliance with Section 17 of this Chapter.

3. The site shall be served by a street of sufficient capacity to accommodate traffic which will be generated. [So there will be extra traffic after all???]

4. Adequate off-street parking is provided as required ... and that such parking is adequately screened and landscaped from adjoining and abutting residential uses.

5. Adequate off-street loading and service entrances are provided...

6.All principal structures and their accessory buildings shall be limited to a maximum height of three (3) stories and fifty (50) feet unless otherwise agreed to by the city council. [this has been raised from the county standard of 35 feet.]

Other conditions which also don't mean diddly-squat.

 

 

 

 

 

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