Minnesota township fights annexation attempt by City of Princeton

Two neighboring communities are at odds about an hour north of the Twin Cities. Baldwin Township and the City of Princeton are locked in a fight over boundary lines, and homeowners are concerned it could change their lives forever.

"We don’t want to be in the city. That’s why we chose to live out in the country, and we don’t want anybody to impose anything on us," Baldwin Township resident Mashell Pointner told FOX 9 on Tuesday.

Pointner and neighbor Scott Arey are alarmed, calling for honesty and transparency, or saying they’ll be forced to sell their homes.

"I’m worried, I’m anxious, if our taxes go up, say goodbye," Pointner said.

Baldwin Township has petitioned the state to incorporate and become a city, to prevent the neighboring city of Princeton from annexing the northern third of the township. Princeton opposes the incorporation; Mayor Tom Walker says the rural community’s 2-and-a-half-acre minimum lot sizes stifle development, while its rural septic tanks put the city’s water system at risk.

"We’re worried about our groundwater, because Baldwin Township does not, and they do not plan to, have any sanitary sewer plant," Walker said. "The distance between the septic and the water table is not very far, and so we’re concerned about our water supply."

Baldwin Township board chair Jay Swanson believes Princeton is just trying to solve its own debt problem, by spreading costs over a larger base of taxpayers.

"All of our septic tanks are checking out just fine," Swanson said. "The wells are testing just fine."

An administrative judge overseeing the situation has extended the public comment period by two weeks. Then locals expect her decision in 90 days, perhaps by mid-July.