Restoration work for the barn is moving in the right direction. We have had our meeting with SHPO, and the meeting with the contractors. Building supplies have been ordered. Discussion about where to put the web cams has been completed. Now, it is real. With reality comes the knowledge that building permits, Conditional Use Permits and building inspections are needed to have the public visit the property. Each task comes with a multitude of bureaucracy. With that said, everyone has been very helpful; it just takes forever to navigate through each organization. None of this is taught in Grad School. Let me walk you through each of the documents we need, to allow the public to visit.
The Conditional Use Permit pertains to zoning and allows the CCHS to use the farm for public visits. Currently, the farm is zoned agriculture. To get a CUP is a multi-staged task. First step was meeting with the Laketown Township board. They had concerns about the amount of traffic that would travel Parley Lake Road, once we put in a driveway to the farm off of Parley Lake. Building a new driveway will happen, but not in the immediate future, as care of the buildings comes first. After meeting with Laketown Township, Carver County Planning was contacted. We missed the cut off for the County meeting by three days, which means the earliest meeting date is March 25. After this meeting, it will go before the board. If all goes well, we will have permission to have the public on the property by early May! Just in time for the summer season.
A building permit was not needed in the past for the barn as it wasn’t going to be used for public use. Now it will be, so engineering and architectural reports are needed to get a building permit. Thankfully we have those, so the permit is obtainable. However like everything else, it is fill out the forms, and include duplicates of plans and mail it all in then wait. With SHPO involved, any changes will have to be to cleared through them. The only change from barn use to a public use may be the addition of handicapped accessibility. The building will only be used seasonally, and does not nor will not have utilities.
The other buildings will need an structural report from an engineer before the county inspector will clear the building for the public. It doesn’t matter the building is solid or not. The reason for this is that when a building changes use, especially when it will be used for public use, it must be inspected for structural soundness. What this means for the farm, is that it will be years before some of the buildings can be used, unless some wonderful engineer, steps up to the plate and offers to do the work for free.
So much to do and so little time. It will all get done. Just don’t expect it all to be done in a couple of years.