ABOUTTownship Cooperative Planning Association
A Short History of TCPA
TCPA or Township Cooperative Planning Association is currently comprised of 13 member townships and one associate member township in Olmsted County, Minnesota.
Formed in May of 1997 by six of the 13 townships, TCPA provides a central office and depository of information that all member townships and their elected officials may access to assist them in the day-to-day operation of their townships.
TCPA staff handles all daily activity, including, but not limited to; applications for zoning, conditional use permits and variances, the subdivision and platting of agricultural and development land as well as the issuance of all building permits.
Septic permits and inspections are completed by GGG Engineering in Chatfield, Minnesota. GGG acts as the septic permitting entity for the 13 member Townships of TCPA. Septic permit applications are available on this site. CLICK HERE.
How is TCPA Different from County Administered Zoning?
The six founding Townships of TCPA wanted a greater say in the development of their respective Townships as well as the land uses that would be allowed. To that end, each member Township has its own zoning ordinance. The overriding caveat; each individual Township ordinance must be as strict as – or stricter – than the Olmsted County zoning ordinance.
Each individual member Township has their own Planning Commission, their own Board of Adjustment, and of course their own Board of Supervisors.
Each Township Planning Commission acts in an advisory role to the Township Board of Supervisors. And unlike the Board Supervisors – who are elected officials – Planning Commission members are appointed by the Board.
While Board of Adjustment members are also appointed, in many Townships the Board of Adjustment is comprised of the Board Supervisors in addition to the Clerk and Treasurer.
Planning Commission(s) meet, when needed, to consider conditional use permit applications, general development plans, zone change applications, preliminary plats, and zoning ordinance updates and text amendments.
The Planning Commission is responsible for considering and potentially approving conditional use permit applications. However, with regard to general development plans, zone changes, preliminary plats, and ordinance updates and text amendments, the Planning Commission considers the matter and then makes a recommendation to the Town Board of Supervisors for their final decision.
Township government has always been heralded as the one true form of grassroots government. The Board of Supervisors, Planning Commissions, and Board(s) of Adjustment are made up of residents of that Township and only that Township. Monthly Township Board meetings are open to the public. Public Hearings for the consideration of conditional use permits, general development plans, etc… are – per State Statute – noticed in local papers and by mailed postcards to surrounding residents.
The cooperative of Townships – that enables this centralized zoning administration office – provides a distinct advantage to the residents of these Townships. It gives residents better and easier access to answers to their property use questions as well as providing them the opportunity for greater input on what uses are allowed in their own Townships.