County Commission Approves Hawley Township Subdivision

Karen Midgarden

“Hawley Township is adamant about covenants being strict enough to maintain the rural nature out there,” declared Commission Jenny Mongeau during the discussion period of a hearing held during the Clay County Commission’s February 16 meeting.  The commission approved a new platted subdivision, Maria Lake Estates, forwarded to them for approval, with conditions, by the Clay County Planning Commission and Hawley Township.

The subdivision, a project of Nugget Investments, will be located southwest of Hawley on the east side of Maria Lake, and contain five lots from 5-8 acres each, with more than two buildable acres/lot, according to County Planning Director Matt Jacobson.   The lots feature at least 300 feet of shoreline and 200 feet of road frontage.  Township roads provide access via 14th Avenue South and 210 Street South.   

Hawley Township requested paired lot access to facilitate ditch maintenance. Commissioner Mongeau added that shared access limits culvert numbers because excessive culverts may negatively impact the environment. One access point in Maria Lake Estates will be shared with an existing property outside the development.

“The lake itself is a natural environment lake. A subdivision is allowable on that type of lake, as long as they meet our shoreland standards,” said Jacobson.  He continued by saying that because it is a shallow lake with 8’ maximum depth, there will not be motored water traffic or fishing. Maria Lake is classified as Aquatic Recreation-Impaired so swimming may not be recommended at some times of the year.

Commissioner Kevin Campbell asked about Aquatic Recreation-Impaired classification disclosure rules for future buyers, “Obviously people who buy these lots will be aware of this. What is the process for future owners? Is there a requirement for disclosure… or is a new buyer going to be in for a big surprise?” Jacobson replied that to his knowledge there was no future buyer disclosure requirement. He added that many of the conditions which require the Aquatic Recreation-Impaired classification are natural because the lake is shallow.

A January 26 planning meeting imposed conditions on the development project.  The developer must identify wetlands and avoid and mitigate damage to them through cooperation with the Clay County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). Commissioner Mongeau clarified that the project must meet township and county planning requirements before building or land alteration projects begin.  Language in existing covenants will be added to reflect this requirement.

Jacobson said, “The covenants are pretty comprehensive.”   He added that the township granted approval at their February 2 meeting with the stipulation that no twin-homes or secondary homes be permitted on Maria Lake Estates lots. He continued, “That fits with our [the county’s] development code as well.”

Addressing the Clay County Commissioners from his office, Raymond Reading, representing Nugget Investments, reported that the buildable acres on each plot in the Maria Lake Subdivision do not include wetlands because homes would be negatively affected.  He said, “We want to get Soil and Water (SWCD) involved before we start digging.”

Director Jacobson recommended that the platted subdivision project receive approval from the Clay County Commission with the addition of language to “receive approval from the Clay Soil and Water Conservation District to avoid and mitigate impacts to wetlands”. 

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