Agreements Mankato has with two abutting townships to bring orderly growth and annexation are likely to be renewed.
“The good news is both agreements are operating very well,” Paul Vogel, Mankato community development director said of the agreements with Lime and Mankato townships.
The “orderly annexation agreements,” made some 15 years ago, were sought to prevent haphazard home subdivision construction in rural areas where townships and counties have difficulty delivering services and issues arise over things like septic systems.
Silica sand debate
Mankato and Lime Township entered into an orderly annexation agreement in 1997 with the city providing limited planning services for the township and the city’s Planning Commission serving as the planning board for zoning issues in the township.
The city-operated planning board, however, is to make zoning decisions that reflect the comments and recommendations of the Lime Township Board, meaning the planning board is basically bound by the wishes of the Township Board.
Over the years, there have been discussions by the Township Board that it make itself the planning board for the township. But the township never took that step, saying its agreement and relationship with Mankato was good for both the city and township.
When Jordan Sands, a subsidiary of Coughlan Companies, proposed this spring to operate a silica sand operation in Lime Township, opponents pushed the Township Board to take over as the sole planning board for the township. Opponents had hoped the Township Board would then declare a moratorium on all new sand operations.
The Township Board declined the suggestion to take over as the planning authority for the township.
But the Township Board is meeting Oct. 29 to consider whether to seek a moratorium on future quarries. If the township requests a moratorium, the Mankato Planning Commission would be bound to go along with it under the orderly annexation agreement.
Mankato Township subdivisions
Mankato and Mankato Township entered into an orderly annexation agreement in 1995 with the goal of stopping nonfarm housing developments in rural areas unless they are annexed into the city of Mankato.
Both sides say the agreement has worked, but the agreement doesn’t address the city annexing subdivisions previously built in the township. For annexation to happen, 100 percent of the property owners in the subdivision must agree to it.
The city said that has caused problems for some subdivisions adjacent to the city, where most, but not all, property owners want to be annexed.
The city and township are to begin renegotiating the agreements next year and the current agreement expires in 2015. The township is developing a proposal that would allow Mankato to annex adjacent subdivisions if 66 percent of property owners want to be annexed. It would also allow the city to annex small parcels when the city is surrounding them.