Citizen survey responses to be tallied

April 26 steering committee meeting

by Chris Studor

Members of the Citizens Steering Committee, charged with gathering public input for a Citizens Survey, spent four hours at their April 26 meeting, slicing, dicing and editing potential survey questions.

At the end of the four-hour endeavor a 13-question survey was finalized with responses due back to the township by May 27.

The results of the questionnaire will be used to assist in the audit of the township’s comprehensive plan by identifying areas in need of updating. An audit, Trustee Melissa Augustine said, is different than a total update that is conducted every 10 years and reviews the plan in totality.

Arthur Schmidt, of OHM planners, is expected to presents survey results at the June 14 committee meeting. If any areas are identified as needing an update, Augustine said any proposed amendments to the township zoning resolution will require the approval of the township’s zoning commission and trustees.

The survey questions focus on six major areas: improvements in the township’s historic downtown area; expansion of water and sewer into downtown Hinckley; conservation housing districts; senior housing, zoning regulations relating to minimum acreage for residential lot sizes; and preservation of green space.      

As part of the survey discussion conducted on April 26, trustees set a 90-second time limit for public commentary prior to finalizing the questions. Several residents commented on future senior housing developments, including Jim Larson.

 “I don’t think any of us ever thought we’d see the type of senior housing now being constructed at the corner of Rt. 303 and W. 130th Street,” Larson said.

Another hot topic centered on residential conservation districts. Three such subdivisions are currently located in the township, including Wakefield Run, Redwood Falls and Walden Pond. To be considered a conservation district, developments must have a minimum of 100 acres, half of which must be left as open space perpetually. The other half of the land is developed for housing and may contain a variety of lot sizes including some lots smaller than 2 acres.

While some residents object to conservation districts, arguing that the smaller lot sizes permitted in a Conservation District do not reflect the rural characteristic of Hinckley. Other residents claim the preservation of the land for open space allows a large amount of permanent open space for wildlife and local flora to flourish compared to 2-acre minimum lot developments. ∞