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County board approves request to review Crosslake planning and zoning

The Crow Wing County Board agreed to a request from the Crosslake City Council to review Crosslake’s Planning and Zoning Department.

Chris Pence, Land Services supervisor, will conduct the review by spending one day a week at Crosslake City Hall.

The assessment will take approximately three months to complete, and Pence will provide the board and Crosslake City Council with a report when the assessment is finished.

In his memo to the board, Pence said, “To be clear, the proposed assessment will focus on operations, not current employee performance.”

He outlined four areas to be assessed: customer service, process and policy, ordinance review and reports.

The decision to conduct the review was unanimous at the board’s Feb. 26 meeting. Commissioner Paul Thiede was especially supportive of the measure.

“In the big scheme of things, this is going to teach us a lot about improving relationships with a lot of townships and cities,” Thiede said.

Pence confirmed that the county will only be putting staff time toward this effort. At this point there will be no shared services.

Timothy Houle, county administrator, commented on the issue of cost to the county for staff to spend time in Crosslake.

“All residents are taxed for services, but we only go outside incorporated areas for those services. Citizens would say they are already paying for those (land use department) services,” Houle said.

Pence said the next step is to meet once more with Crosslake City Council before beginning the review.