At the August 26 Fillmore County Planning Commission meeting, public hearings were held on two proposed zoning ordinance amendments.
The proposed Fillmore County definition of a campground says, in part, that any area privately or publicly owned to accommodate two or more tents or recreational camping vehicles for compensation is considered a campground. A privately owned camping area with up to four sites “without” compensation does not fall under this definition. Five or more sites whether with or without compensation is considered a campground.
Zoning Administrator Cristal Adkins noted state statute considers five sites a campground with or without compensation.
Randy Mensink explained his family has about 100 acres near Whalan where they have five campers who camp occasionally, along with their kids. They installed a holding tank and licensed the campers as directed by the county. He said the campers never move and have covers over them. The campers have been on the property over 30 years. Mensink was concerned that this amendment would affect their family’s camping area. Adkins said these campers predate the ordinance. She added, however, if another camper were added they would need to get a conditional use permit.
The proposed definition as presented was unanimously approved and will go to the county board for their consideration.
The next public hearing concerned an amendment to the Subsurface Sewage Treatment System (SSTS) ordinance which will eliminate an exemption allowing a homeowner to install his own septic tank or holding tank. State rules allow an exemption for homeowners, who have obtained a design for the SSTS from a licensed designer, to install their own septic system. Adkins explained this requires numerous trips to inspect the system during the installation process. Only one trip for inspection from the zoning office is required when the system is installed by a licensed installer.
About 120 septic systems including holding tanks are installed in Fillmore County in a year. Of those, only a handful of property owners request the exemption. Very few counties still allow homeowners to install their own system.
There were no comments from the public. It was asked if this could be an issue where one could apply for a variance. Adkins said she could think of no scenario where an applicant could prove a hardship. The only reason for wanting to install one’s own system is to avoid paying an installer. Approval was given to alter the language under section 405 SSTS Practitioner Licensing to remove the state exemption which allows homeowners who have obtained a design from a licensed designer to perform their own installation. This amendment will go to the county board for its consideration.
A proposed amendment concerning limitations on the use of holding tanks was discussed briefly. Adkins said she will bring more information to a future Planning Commission meeting to support this proposed amendment.
Board of Adjustment
Adam and Vanessa Payne, section 27 Beaver Township, applied for a 15-foot variance to section 604.05 (2)(b), requiring a 130-foot setback from the centerline of the road or 40-foot set back from the right of way (Highway 63). Vanessa explained they want to build an attached garage and entryway addition to their home 115 feet from the centerline of the road. These would be setback the same distance as their current home. There were no comments from the public or township supervisors. The 15-foot variance was approved.