Canosia Township
Businesses on Martin Road
during the past 50 years

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Canosia Township has been growing in homes, business and population since our early logging, farming and lake cabin days.

Planning and Zoning would like to walk you through some changes to one piece of land on the Martin Road.

A family farm became a large commercial dairy in the late 20’s called the "Town Hall Dairy" run by Nels and Julia Paulson. They sold and delivered milk over a wide area. They were very civic minded and even donated land on the corner of the Martin and LaVaque Roads to build a school. Pigs were raised and sold during the 1950’s A great amount of gravel was hauled out and used in the construction of the long runway (East-West) when the Air Force was located at the Duluth Airport. Later this land housed thousands of chickens in several four hundred foot long buildings in the production of eggs to be sold in stores. Many neighbors were employed in the candling, grading and packing of eggs into cartons. 

Hundreds of leghorn chickens were housed in wire cages in long rows on each side of these buildings. The chickens were sold when egg production waned and new chickens replaced them to continue this egg producing business. Large trucks were used in the transport of these products. Mr. Mortrud, the owner, also donated many cartons of eggs to the Damiano Center Soup Kitchen when it first opened. As Mr. Mortrud’s health failed, the management of the business transferred to a new owner and the Farm Credit Bureau phased out the entire operation. Some good farm practices were neglected in the care of the chickens, building and land management so that complaints were made to the Canosia Town Board. Meetings were called and information concerning problems with manure, smell, contamination and/or water were addressed. Before all these issues were solved the land was sold and the new owner found himself in the possession of land that had many problems attached to it.

The Town of Canosia had established a Planning and Zoning Commission in 1976 after an earlier board was no longer in existence. S. Louis County zoned our township eliminating all of our commercial areas except "Four Corners", leaving all other commercial uses that were still operating to be "grandfathered-in",which means once they were not active for one year they could not resume a commercial use but revert to the current uses allowed in their zone. The Town Board accepted this definition when it adopted the ordinance and map in 1976 and again in 1993. 

The Paulson/Mortrud property on the Martin Road reverted into a rural residential zone, now called Multiple Use Non Shoreland (MUNS) even if its use had been commercial for over fifty years; with gravel pits, milk production, chicken/egg processing and commercial building occupying this land. The only way our Ordinance allows the use of this property and building in a commercial manner was/is with a conditional use permit under the area of Neighborhood Commercial.

Canosia Zoning Ordinance 93-1 defines Neighborhood commercial uses - Those uses which provide neighborhood level convenience services to communities such as small grocery stores, small sundry and convenience item stores, and small professional office buildings, such as doctor and dental clinics, which uses are of such size and nature as to blend well with the existing and intended development pattern of the neighborhood.

With conditions allowed by standards allowed in a MUNS zone, and after a Public Hearing, the Planning and Zoning Commission can vote to approve a commercial use, with conditions attached. At this time the manure has been removed from all the buildings and a gravel pit and other pollution problems addressed under the guidance of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) at the expense of the owner. Gravel can still be removed. The buildings are used for maintenance, storage and a marine sales and repair business. In cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) the owners allows one of the most popular snowmobile trails to travel through the property.

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