A temporary moratorium on constructing single-family homes could be in place in Greenvale Township for one year, as a lawsuit against the township unfolds by a local farmer.

Greenvale Township Board Chairman Greg Langer said the move was recommended by a lawyer for the township’s insurer. He does not believe the moratorium will have a negative impact on the township’s economy.

“We are an agricultural farming community,” he said. “This doesn’t have anything to do with farming.”

The moratorium has been in place since Greenvale Township Board of Supervisors approval June 15. The lawsuit was filed by Northfield-based TK Properties of Northfield, LLC in early May after the company sought to acquire two township properties, one 32 acres with a home on it and the other land spanning 8 acres. The company went to the board asking for a statement saying that the 8t-acre parcel was buildable, but the board denied the request.

TK Properties owner Ken Malecha said the township violated statutes and did not follow ordinances in denying the request. He said the township must adhere to state public records and open meeting laws, and has not been completely forthcoming in sharing the names of its legal advisors.

The topic was discussed Monday at a well-attended Greenvale Township Planning Commission meeting. There was a scheduled building plan review for Jane Dilley to build a home on the 28000 block of Dunbar Avenue to replace the former home on the site, but the Planning Commission did not act on the request because of the moratorium.

Langer noted Greenvale Township has provisions for agriculture and shoreland preservation, but not for housing developments and commercial developments. He said he was not sure whether another governmental entity had enacted a similar moratorium.

A trial in the case is scheduled for February.

According to the resolution putting the ordinance into effect, the prohibition allows the township to study amending its comprehensive plan, zoning and subdivision ordinances and other controls for regulating the creation of single-family residential dwelling units in light of recent growth and development within the township.

According to the resolution, the moratorium will allow the township to evaluate development standards and infrastructure requirements to ensure future single-family homes enhances the township.

Following discussion, resident Charlene Klemenhagen spoke against the moratorium.

“It’s a bunch of BS,” she said. “How can you stop a builder? That’s how he makes his living.”

The Planning Commission also voted to recommend to the Town Board the development of a permitting process for about a half dozen businesses in the township operating without necessary permits.

At one point, a Greenvale Township business owner said he felt the township was “hammering” him, an accusation Langer denied.

Reach Associate Editor Sam Wilmes at 507-645-1115.

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