The Minnesota Municipal Board has found that the petitioners seeking incorporation of Port Mille Lacs failed to produce evidence that the area’s needs would best be served if it became a city and have denied the request.

The decision was reached in a July 10 meeting of the board, and township officials affected by the incorporation petition were informed of the decision early last week. The petitioners were seeking incorporation of an area on the west side of Mille Lacs Lake between the Mille Lacs Reservation and the Garrison city limits.

At the heart of the matter was the maintenance of the roads in the Port Mille Lacs development that fall within Kathio Township. Those concerns were stressed repeatedly by petitioners in a public hearing on the matter, conducted in Garrison on Feb. 6. The Municipal Board addressed those concerns in a memorandum to a three-page document which included the board’s findings of fact and conclusions of law.

The board reached the following conclusions:

1. The Minnesota Municipal Board duly acquired and now has jurisdiction of the within proceeding.

2. The petitioners fail to produce satisfactory evidence to meet the statutory criterion for incorporation.

3. The area subject to incorporation is not now nor is about to become urban or suburban in character.

4. Municipal government is not required to protect the public health, safety and welfare in the area subject to incorporation.

5. The best interest of the area subject to incorporation will not be furthered by incorporation.

6. An order should be issued by the Minnesota Municipal Board denying the petition for incorporation of the area described within.

The document also included a one-page memo which stated, in part:

“The primary articulated motivating factor of the majority of petitioners seeking incorporation was their desire for better road maintenance. The Minnesota Municipal Board in denying the petition for incorporation does not wish to foreclose the petitioners’ attempts at improving their road conditions. The petitioners’ frustration was directed at the townships who refused to take over private roads that were not up to township specifications and at the original developer and the present development company whom the petitioners perceive as not having lived up to their representations and obligations.

“At present, the Minnesota Municipal Board has been advised that meetings have been held, subsequent to the hearing on the above referenced matter, with county officials, township officers, and affected property owners attempting to develop solutions to the property owners’ concerns. The Minnesota Municipal Board urges that these meetings continue. Further, the Regional Development Commission for the area, presently under consideration before the Minnesota Municipal Board, has indicated a willingness to work with the affected area also. The Minnesota Municipal Board applauds the interest and urges the petitioners, townships, and counties to fully avail themselves at this resource. Finally, extensive checking revealed no outstanding on the developer with any of the contracted State of Minnesota agencies. The Minnesota Municipal Board apprises the petitioners and others similarly situated that the State of Minnesota Attorney General’s office may be an appropriate avenue for them to pursue, depending on the facts of the case.

“The Minnesota Municipal Board is pleased that communication has begun with the various interested parties.”

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