Judge rules Castle Rock Township must allow Islamic Cemetery
An Islamic cemetery will be allowed in Castle Rock Township after a Dakota County judge ruled that the township’s efforts to block it were “arbitrary and capricious.” According to the Star Tribune, District Judge David Knutson granted a summary judgment last week that forces the township board to issue a conditional use permit for the cemetery. The Al Maghfirah Cemetery Association bought the 73-acre parcel in 2014. Castle Rock Township’s zoning rules initially allowed for the cemetery to be built, and the local Planning Commission recommended that the board approve it. But the board denied the application, saying that building a tax-exempt cemetery would cost the township about $17,000 in annual lost tax revenue. The cemetery association sued the township in late 2015 and asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate possible discrimination against Muslims. In 2014, the township collected only about $1,200 of total taxes for the property.
A NAFRS Administrator position met with mixed response
The NAFRS Board met last week. They had an audit of their finances. Chair Glen Castore said their annual budget dropped by $100,000 to $424,000, which he says will likely stay consistent. That includes the 6 new firefighters. The elected officials on the NAFRS Board, Mayors Switzer and Graham as well as their City Administrators have been urging NAFRS to hire an Administrator to handle daily business. There was mixed response from the Board. Castore said the Board voted to move the item to the Personnel Committee for review. Switzer laid out a job description and salary reflecting 30 hours a week and about $45,000 a year. He asked to be on the Personnel Committee to further refine his recommendation. On February 23rd, the NAFRS Board will meet with the Northfield City council at a work session. Part of the agenda will include the Fire Facility. The meeting is open to the public.
Liquor, animals, armory and annexation on Agenda
On the Northfield City Council agenda tonight is a resolution regarding a Liquor License penalty hearing and proposed civil penalties for Chapati and a consideration of a request for a permit to keep more than 3 animals. This item pertains to a resident who has been cited for having 4 adult dogs in her home. Council will vote on a consideration to purchase the Armory. Prior to the vote, they are scheduled to tour the building at 2 this afternoon. Councilors Ludescher and DeLong asked that the Waterford Annexation agreement be placed on the Council agenda to consider payment to the Township from 2010 through 2016. There is disagreement as to whether State legislation approved in 2009 ends any tax payment to Waterford. The City attorney opined that Northfield was no longer legally bound to continue payments and the Council at that time voted to stop payments from 2010 and beyond. Ludescher disagrees. The council meeting begins at 7pm. You can view it live on the City’s website. Mayor Graham will be in studio at 7:20 tomorrow morning with a recap. On tonight’s Beyond the Open Mic, Victor Summa and Don McGee talk about the council’s discussion on allowing just one open mic period rather than at each item and also the Waterford annexation agreement. That’s tonight at 6 o’clock, just after the news.
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