There is a Minnesota State Law which prevents zoning juvenile sex
offenders into residential neighborhoods. This changes things
By law, Nexus cannot build a sex offender facility on the 38.81 acres.
Don't get mad at me, all you Pronexus. I didn't write the law. But I'm
certainly glad it exists. It exists to protect people like you and me.
Of course, we told the Onamia city council about 462.357 a long time
ago. Since they never listen to us, they went ahead anyway. And now they
are in trouble.
The law talks about zoning for residential facilities such as day care
or other licensed facilities, but it particularly excludes
juvenile sex offender facilities from R1 and R2 districts. We think that
the reason that the city council dropped the permitted use
ordinance they had written and switched to pursuing conditional use
was because they recognized Section 7 of this law. Unfortunately for
them, they misinterpretted Section 8 of the law.
Section 7 specifically excludes juvenile sex offender facilities in R1
(single family) zones. In Section 8, it refers back to Section 7, also
specifically excluding juvenile sex offender facilities in R2 (multiple
familiy) zones. The city council missed that. Or to place the blame
where it most belongs - the city attorney missed it. After all, it was
his job to sort out the law.
To complicate matters, they misinterpretted the part in Section 8 which
says that the governing municipal body can write ordinances to control
residential facilities. The city council, disregarding the juvenile sex
offender exclusion, apparently took that to mean that they could just
write an ordinance specifically to include 94 juvenile sex offenders.
Oops. No way Jose'.
The law gives the municipal government the right to RESTRICT the number
of (non-sexual offender) residents ... like day care. There is a maximum
number of sixteen, by law. Read that again please. 16 MAXIMUM. The law
allows the city council to write an ordinance to limit this
number. Say they decided that ten residents is plenty. They could write
an ordinance to restrict the numbers to 10 maximum. They can smallen it.
They can't biggen it...
The Onamia city council apparently thought that they could EXPAND the
number from the maximum 16 day care kids to 94 juvenile sex
offenders. How could they think such a thing was okay to do? I
dunno. You'd have to ask them. In their defense, the law seems to be
written in a mystical language - for lawyers. So, I'd have to once again
place the blame on theirs. Of course, if the city council had listened
to us these past several months, they might not be in the trouble they
are in right now. We told them so.... We've spent so much time studying
the law, if there was a country which spoke only Legaleeze, we'd at
least be able to ask for directions or order lunch and a beer if we
happened to vacation there.
Perhaps its time to return to the days of yesteryear. Its time for Nexus
to face the music and either remodel Crosier or find another "home" for
their sex offenders. Minnesota Statute 462.357 forbids them from
building in our neighborhood. Permitted Use won't work. Conditional Use
won't work. Variance won't work. The current zoning won't work. Rezoning
won't work. They can't get past this law. Not only have we had our
lawyers look into it, we've also alerted our state representative. You
know... the one who WRITES the laws... So, Nexus and the city council
may finally have met an obstacle they can't get around or slip another
But even if by some miracle, they manage to circumvent 462.357, there
are other Minnesota Statutes they will have to address. Spot Zoning. EAW,
EIS (environmental). Plus there's problems with the wetlands, the
building placement, the water table, the roads, etc. etc. You'd think
they'd be bright enough to see the light.
There are now other problems that the city council is facing too,
although I'm not sure they're even aware of it yet. A few years ago,
they rezoned the Crosier property from Institutional (which is correct)
to R2 (which is forbidden for juvenile sex offenders). The Mille Lacs
Academy has been improperly zoned for years! Maybe Onamia should get a
real Planning Commission and develop a real Comprehensive Municipal Plan
- like they were mandated by ordinance to do but neglected to follow
through. At a public hearing, Zoning Administrator Mickey Carter
admitted that he had no training and was unqualified to perform the
duties of Zoning Administrator, adding in his own defense "but they seem
to like what I do." Shouldn't he have been the one to bring 462.357 to
the city council's attention? Maybe we should consider getting a city
government that at least lives in Onamia - even in the winter. During
this period of critical zoning issues, THIS zoning administrator as well
as Councilman Kryzer have been absent for months.
So what to do? Well, butts were covered in the following fashion:
everything was contingent. So if Nexus can't build on the
property, it reverts back to the city. If the city can't work it out
with Nexus, it reverts back to Steve and Loretta Bye. Everything goes
back into place. Peace returns to the days of yesteryear. And somewhere
in the distance, if you listen carefully you might hear a hearty "Hiyo