The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 7, 2014

Minnesota drafting rules on river development

Group says rules could hurt business

ST. PAUL — The state is playing a balancing act as it tries to regulate development along the 72-mile Mississippi River corridor through the Twin Cities area.

An initial set of draft rules to govern development along the river ran aground, and both the business community and environmental groups say the Department of Natural Resources has more work to do.

The DNR's goal is to protect the corridor while also giving cities some flexibility and recognizing existing and planned developments, Minnesota Public Radio reported Monday (http://bit.ly/1pUz2tn ).

Matt Kramer of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce said the intent is good but the proposed rules could mean existing companies will fall out of compliance, posing problems when they want to expand.

"The bank looks at you and says, your property is in a non-conforming status, highly likely that any expansion is going to be disputed to a zoning appeals board. So all of a sudden, your future is dependent upon a bunch of people deciding whether your property should get a zoning variance," he said.

But Friends of the Mississippi River says giving cities flexibility would weaken the regulations.

Public meetings on the rules will take place July 16 in Anoka, July 22 in St. Paul and July 24 in Hastings.

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