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Vets cemetery gets preliminary backing from the County Planning Commission

WILLMAR -- Preliminary approval was given Monday for the creation of an 850-plot private veterans cemetery in Colfax Township in northern Kandiyohi County.

The cemetery would include 500 full-body plots and 350 crematoria wall plots under a plan proposed by Marlyn Marquardt, a U.S. Navy veteran.

This is the second time in two years that the county planning commission has approved a conditional use permit for Marquardt to develop the cemetery alongside his fledgling handicapped accessible mini-golf course designed for veterans and their families.

Last year the cemetery plan was stopped when the Kandiyohi County Board disagreed with the Planning Commission's recommendation and denied the permit. The County Board's 2007 decision was based on the county attorney's advise concerning state requirements for a private cemetery versus a public cemetery.

Since that time, Marquardt has completed extra surveys and a plat of the cemetery. He said he has met state statutes for a private cemetery.

At the request of the Colfax Town Board, the Planning Commission decided Monday that Marquard must also meet a state requirement for public cemetery -- that a perpetual care fund be established to ensure the cemetery is maintained after Marquardt is no longer here to do so.

Larry Urban, a Colfax Township supervisor, said there was concern about the future upkeep of the cemetery. He asked that a board of trustees of three or four people be created to oversee the perpetual maintenance.

Clearly frustrated with the extra time and expense he's already incurred, Marquardt said he would abide by the additional condition because he could no longer "fight the system."

He told the planning commission that the cemetery would continue to be taken care of by his family after his death. "My family stands behind me," he said. "They won't let me down because I didn't let my country down."

In a brief interview after the meeting, Marquardt said he has used his veteran's disability checks to build the golf course and has been disappointed with the lack of paid memberships for the course.

He said he intends to continue to use disability payments to build the cemetery but that has little money left now.

Another condition approved by the Planning Commission would require Marquardt to record his plat within 180 days after it's approved by the County Board.

The County Board is expected to take action on Marquardt's conditional use permit next Tuesday.

In other action, the Planning Commission postponed action on a preliminary plat for Cameron Ridge in New London Township until there's clarification on ordinances for storm water management.

The action was taken after hearing from Skip Wright, area hydrologist with the Department of Natural Resources, and Chad Anderson from the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District, about the environmentally sensitive nature of the area and potential problems the proposed development would have on wetlands, the Crow River and Nest Lake.

Anderson said that between 1990 and 2000 the amount of impervious surface in the New London and Spicer area has increased 40 percent. He predicted that in 2010 Nest Lake would be put on the impaired waters list.

The planning commission approved a request by Gerald and Joe Gimse, of Gimse Bros. Construction, to use an outlot in their City Heights First Addition for a cluster drain field system for 20 residential lots.

The commission also approved a request to rezone an area in Roseville Township from a shoreland residential management district to a resource management district.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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