Ham Lake denies annexation

The Ham Lake City Council has denied an East Bethel resident’s annexation request.

Findings of fact denying the request were approved at the council’s Jan. 7 meeting. The council had unanimously directed the city attorney to prepare these findings of fact at its Dec. 17, 2012 meeting.

The facts for denial state that “the primary purpose of the petition is to avoid having to comply with the ordinances” of the city of East Bethel.

East Bethel resident Lowell Friday submitted a request to the city to have two parcels of land he owns currently in East Bethel annexed into Ham Lake.

According to state statute, if a property owner requests annexation and both municipalities reject the request, the matter is done and the request does not go any further. If one municipality joins the request, then an administrative law judge conducts hearings and makes a decision on the request.

One of the parcels Friday requested to have annexed is some 21 acres and fronts County Road 68 for its entire north-south distance. The property address is 18215 Greenbrook Drive N.E. As County Road 68 enters Ham Lake, it becomes Xylite Street N.E., even though it is the same public road.

The parcel contains two dwellings, according to City Attorney Wilbur Dorn, as well some dozen outbuildings in various states of repair.

The second property is some 4.5 acres and has frontage on 181st Lane N.E. This property is vacant and separated from the other Friday property by a parcel with a single-family home.

Friday also owns a third 29-plus-acre parcel which is located in Ham Lake. The eastern East Bethel property on 181st Lane abuts the Ham Lake property for some 330 feet. The western East Bethel property on Greenbrook Drive touches the northwest corner of the Ham Lake parcel, but they have no common boundary. Horses would be allowed on this Ham Lake property based on current ordinance.

According to Friday’s petition, the reason for the annexation is to allow him to continue to raise horses on all of his property.

Friday had an interim use permit from East Bethel to allow him to keep horses on his property. That IUP was denied renewal based on a history of mistreatment of the horses. A subsequent hearing by an independent hearing examiner also recommended that the IUP be denied.

Annexation would not guarantee Friday the ability to keep horses on the two properties in Ham Lake.

The city could designate the parcels a different zoning, likely single-family residential as outlined in the city’s comprehensive plan.

Ham Lake’s comprehensive plan calls for the phasing out of R-A zoning, which Friday’s current properties are, by 2030, which means the city would not be working toward that goal by adding more R-A land.

The findings of fact also state that the furnishing of basic city services, “such as police and fire protection, is more conveniently provided” by East Bethel currently than they could be provided by Ham Lake.

Kelly Johnson is at kelly.johnson@ecm-inc.com

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