Monday, May 14, 2001
Zoning permits were the dominant agenda item at last Tuesday’s regular session of the County Board. Zoning Administrator Norm Craig presented the commissioners with a long list of Conditional Use Permits (CUP) passed on from the Planning Commission to the Board for approval.
At the top of the CUP list were two applications for sawmills. The first application, for Henry Zook, was to permit and operate an existing sawmill. The second, for Emery Hershberger, was to construct and operate a new sawmill.
Commissioner Marc Prestby, whose district has seen the greatest increase in sawmill applications and includes both the Zook and Hershberger sawmills, began the discussion noting that the Canton Fire Department, of which he is a member, has been called to the Zook sawmill three times because of smoldering sawdust piles.
"Don’t they need to get a burn permit?" inquired Commissioner Randy Dahl.
"Yes, but sawmills can get a six month permit (versus the two week permit normally given)," responded Craig.
"I guess I’d like to see some of the burning addressed in these permits," added Prestby. "Most of the problems are with the sawdust piles."
After Commissioner Harry Root expressed his concerns about inconsistent regulation of the sawmills, County Attorney Matt Opat recommended that specific language be developed for the regulating of burning at the sawmill sites and placed on the permits as conditions. Many of the sawmills being permitted are on Amish farms and all on the Board acknowledged the primary use of wood for heat and cooking on Amish farms.
Before the end of the meeting, Mr. Opat’s office drafted language for use on the permits and the applications were approved. The specific language stated: "The sawmill operator shall not allow by-products to be burned unless for personal use in heating and cooking."
To the Hershberger application was added an additional condition: "The sawmill shall be designed and built to reduce noise effecting nearby neighbors." As the sawmill has yet to operate, it was not made clear which noise that is "effecting" the neighbors is to be reduced, and by how much. Bed and Breakfasts
Moving from sawmills in the agriculture district to bed and breakfasts (B&B) in the agriculture district, the commissioners reviewed and approved applications for three new B&Bs.
Well, actually, two of the permits were for new lodgi .....[Read the Rest]