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County Board rules that EAW not required on Bucknell Subdivison

Fri, Apr 11th, 2003
Posted in Features

A request by Bruce and Linda Bucknell of Racine for a conditional use permit to establish seven lots and two outside lots on land they own located in Sumner Township came to a halt in early March due to a petition requesting an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW). A 30-signature petition was sent to the Environmental Quality Board asking that an EAW be completed as the group felt there was a potential for groundwater contamination in the limestone and karst featured area. The environmental body ruled that Fillmore County was the regulatory governmental unit in this case and should assess whether an EAW is required in this instance.. Both parties came back to the Commissioners’ table this week after the board completed a tour of the proposed site. Bruce Bucknell and Mat Fowler, GGG Engineering of Chatfield, and Randy Ness of the concerned citizens’ group were present. Fowler spoke first, focusing on state requirements of septic tanks and how the project would be in compliance. He felt some individuals find human waste more of a concern than animal waste. Fowler explained that the state requires sealed septic tanks with three feet of good soil to treat sewage as it disperses from the tank. There would be no runoff; it is a completely controlled situation. The effectiveness of any septic system is based on its maintenance. Bucknell said there has been talk of possible required maintenance contracts to keep septic systems working to maximum ability, but nothing has been implemented in this area yet. Fowler next spoke to the concern of runoff. A hydrologic curve number computation sheet was presented. Its data would suggest the subdivision would have less runoff than the average crop land. Fowler noted there wouldn’t be a curb system that would have the potential to create a runoff. He felt lawns and properly managed ditches would keep runoff to a minimum. Fowler also noted there is a field between the proposed site and the spring-fed Kedron trout stream the petitioners are concerned about. Soil being moved during construction and possible hazardous waste was next in line for consideration. The engineer assured the board that silt fences would be put in place to stop the flow of potential soil erosion. The board next questioned the confusion of several marked cemetery plots and the unclear property boundary lines of the cemetery versus Bucknell’s property. Bucknell pointed out several markers have been disturbed making legal boundaries somewhat questionable. How-ever, Bucknell said he is more than willing to work with the cemetery association to clarify lines at their discretion.Another concern of the petitioners was that of the township road, with more traffic causing a safety issue, and dust problems. If a conditional use permit were given, the dust issue could be addressed. The safety issue was not considered a part of an EAW.With the exception of Commissioner Helen Bicknese, the board believed the petitioners’ concerns had been addressed and saw no need for an EAW. Bicknese felt the dust concern did fall under an EAW. Bucknell will be given a 60-day extension to file for a conditional use permit. Regardless of the board’s position, Bucknell still has to face a moratorium put in place by Sumner Township following his request for the permit. The moratorium puts a halt to any non-ag construction for at least 12 months.

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