The Fillmore County Planning Commission met via WebEx for their May 21 meeting. A conditional use permit applied for by ITC Midwest, LLC to rebuild an existing substation in Sumner Township was considered.
During the public hearing David Gross, representing ITC Midwest, explained they are proposing to rebuild an existing substation. They will be adding additional land (purchased from Menno and Sara Miller, section 4, Sumner Township). There will be no change in voltage; it will continue to be a 69kV electric substation. Gross added they will use essentially the same hardware.
Numerous questions from neighboring residents Carl and Diane Johnson were answered prior to the public hearing. The project is expected to take about six months; any damages to the Johnson property will be fixed by ITC. There will be no other chemicals or materials used in the upgraded substation than those already used in the existing switchyard. ITC will provide any needed traffic control associated with the project.
There were no comments from the township board or the public during the hearing. Commission Chairman Gary Ruskell called this a win-win. The upgrade from the old wooden structure makes sense. The commission unanimously recommended approval. The county board will consider the CUP at their June 2 meeting.
A public hearing on a conditional use permit application for a rock quarry by Skyline Materials, Ltd., section 30, Fountain Township was postponed until the next planning commission meeting, which is tentatively set for June 18 or 25. Zoning Administrator Cristal Adkins felt Skyline Materials needed time to more satisfactorily respond to questions and comments posed by the Minnesota DNR.
Lori Broghammer, Midwest ITC, complimented Adkins and the commission; she was impressed with the county’s process including the filing for the permit and the site tours.
Board of Adjustment
Brian Carpenter, section 19 Fillmore Township, had requested a variance of 18 feet so he could build a 24-foot by 24-foot garage 55 feet from the centerline of Orchard Rd. Due to the slope, Carpenter explained it will be necessary to build closer to the road. There was no comment from the township or the public during the public hearing. The variance was approved by a 4-1 vote. Ruskell voted no.
Variances were requested by MiEnergy Cooperative for the construction of a 195 foot self supporting (no guide wires) telecommunications tower at the Cherry Grove Substation, section 12 Beaver Township. Dishes will be installed on the tower to provide a communications link between the co-op’s electrical substations. MiEnergy representative Chad Chaffee explained they are in the process of building a ring between substations for communication interconnection. The tower may also be used to provide wireless broadband in the area at some point. The tower is to be placed in the northwest corner of the parcel. The variances are for setbacks from the property lines and the road. Adkins said that because of the height of the tower there is no where on that parcel where setbacks could be met. She calculated that the setback to the road should be 214 feet; the expected variance is about 45 feet. There were no comments from the township or the public. The variances requested by MiEnergy were unanimously approved. A CUP application for this telecommunications tower will be considered at the next planning commission meeting.