The City of St. Francis petitioned the DNR for six variances from the Minnesota Rules for the Rum River Wild and Scenic River, chapter 6105, pursuant to the variance criteria laid out in Minnesota Statutes, section 14.055 Subd. 4. The City of St. Francis submitted the following documents as part of the petition:
The DNR has reviewed each of the six variances against each of the three variance criteria in Minnesota Statute, § 14.055, subd. 4, and carefully considered all comments submitted (see more about the public comment period below). The DNR has determined that the requested variances do not meet the criteria needed for approval and has denied the variance petition. The findings for this decision are many and complex, but overall, the DNR denied the six variances because development allowed under the proposed variances would be contrary to the Rum River’s “scenic” designation and would negatively impact the scenic, recreational, natural, and historic values for which the Rum River was designated. The Rum River was designated because it was under intense development pressure in the late 1970s, and the citizens of Minnesota wanted to protect these values for future generations. Furthermore, the circumstances in St. Francis are not different from other rapidly growing communities along the Rum River.
The DNR’s complete analysis and findings of fact supporting this decision may be found in the DNR’s decision order:
Public Comment Period
The DNR and the City of St. Francis sent the following public notice to all residents in and within 350 feet of the affected parcel, as well as to government agencies and other affected parties and interests on March 26, 2019:
The public comment period was open from March 26 through April 26. The DNR received 196 comments from individuals and ten comments from interest groups and government agencies during the comment period. The DNR reviewed all comments and considered them in making a decision.