Proposed Trenton campground draws resident ire

Posted 7/28/21

Zoning vote set for Aug. 10 TOWN OF TRENTON – The Trenton Town Board held a public hearing on Monday night, July 26 for discussion of a proposed cabin campsite that would be placed on six acres …

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Proposed Trenton campground draws resident ire


Zoning vote set for Aug. 10

TOWN OF TRENTON – The Trenton Town Board held a public hearing on Monday night, July 26 for discussion of a proposed cabin campsite that would be placed on six acres of land off of 810th Street in Hager City.

The proposed project is the idea of Hager City resident Fred Plass who owns the property and lives next to the proposed development site. The idea came to Plass during the pandemic, as he noticed the need for people to find an escape from being home all the time.

“There's a lot of people that come up from Iowa, southern Minnesota and Wisconsin. For fishermen this would be a big thing for them, because they're always putting their boats in over at the back channel. It’s right across from the Mississippi. You've got the bar down the street, you've got the boat ramp, and people are five minutes away from Red Wing with all the stuff that Red Wing offers,” said Plass on what the area has to offer to the proposed campground.

The proposed project will take up six acres of land that Plass currently owns. Based on his research for this project, each acre of the property could hold up to 15 cabins per acre. Plass is proposing placing 26 cabins over six acres with 20 feet of foliage separating each cabin from both sides.

Plass also say he plans that any renters at these cabins would have to rent for a minimum of a week’s stay. The property line will also have six-foot tall fencing to keep renters from trespassing on property owned by locals neighboring this land. Plass said there will be buffer zones of 50 feet between the campground and neighboring personal property.

Township residents who attended the public hearing gave different opinions on the proposed project. A few people wanted to clarify details of the development plan, and others worried about the increase of people traveling through town to this campsite that could cause “trouble.”

Jerry Hassenberg, a long-time Hager City resident was not in favor of the project.

“This is crap! You guys rezone this, and we get this sort of thing in our neighborhood and the crime rate goes up,” Hassenberg said. “Guess who's going to get the calls besides the cops? You guys, this is a wrong thing to do in a residential neighborhood. And I think all you guys know this, this is just wrong. If he [Plass] wants to make money on that property, sell it, part with it for residential housing, put nice homes in there like we've got there. Then you'll have something but what you're proposing right now is nothing more than transient housing! These people don't own them shacks! It's nothing but trouble boys! Think about what you're doing!”

Mary Tharalson, a resident of Hager City for 50 years, shared multiple points and questions on the proposed project. Tharalson asked Plass what currently sits on the proposed lot right now, and Plass told her it’s nothing but foliage.

“It's all grown up with noxious weeds, you know what’s inside those noxious weeds?” Tharalson asked. “Vermin, rats, everything. And you know what? Whose job is it to come around to those lots and take care of it? It’s not his [Plass] job, but he's got to clean it up. This is zoning stuff on this town board that these lots, you're not allowed to have them like that. And zoning with Pierce County too that lot, I knew it when it wasn't that way. I knew it when it was farmland.”

Based on these comments, the town board made clear to those attending that the public hearing was strictly a public hearing. No decisions were made on a conditional use permit or a zoning change from a rural residential property to a rural flexible property.

Until the town board votes on changing the proposed land from a rural residential to a rural flexible zoning, Plass cannot move further along with his plans. If the town board votes to approve the zoning change, then Plass can get a conditional use permit to help establish ownership control and guidelines for those who rent cabins on the campground in the future.

Plass shared his plan for what he will do if and when the conditional use permit would be issued to him.

“Then on the conditional use permit, I will state everything that a campground or a resort would have as far as rules and regulations which you can do, what you can’t do, the signs, lighting, everything else, tell them that there is going to be sewer and water to each unit. All that stuff would go on the conditional use permit, but that's step two.”

If approved by the town, Plass estimates it may take at least one year for the construction and development of his proposed campground to be completed.

The Trenton Town Board will vote on the rezoning of the property from rural residential to rural flexible at the Tuesday, Aug. 10 meeting.