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Planning & Zoning ready to tackle new issues in 2003


Fri, Jan 24th, 2003
Posted in Features

The Fillmore County Planning & Zoning Commission held their first meeting of the new year on Thursday, January 23. About 30 people braved the cold temperatures to listen to commission members talk about zoning issues that the group will likely address in 2003. The commission took no action on these items at their meeting.

•Cooperative Land Develop-ment. Todd Juzwiak and Eva Barr of rural Wykoff addressed the commission about the possibility of creating a zoning classification for multi-dwelling cooperative land holdings in rural areas. According to Fillmore County Zoning Administrator Norm Craig, this would be different from requirements for a subdivision or a planned unit of development. Winona County has some rural housing developments that are similar in structure to what is envisioned.

Similar to housing coops and townhouses in urban areas, the land is owned by the cooperative and members are allowed to build homes on the property. Infrastructure, including roads, utilities, septic systems and wells would be developed by the cooperative.

While each home would be owned by the individual, it could only be sold to another individual who had been pre-approved by the cooperative. According to Juzwiak, there are lending institutions that will finance mortgages for homes in land development cooperatives.

Juzwiak said that they would like to begin discussions with the Planning Commission to develop this concept, which he envisioned being limited to five dwellings.

Some of the discussion from commission members centered on how this might be applicable for Amish farms as well as for family farms where there is an incentive to cluster homes together.

•Country Inns. Fran Scibora of Berwood Hill Inn near Preston has been working with Craig on language that would distinguish a Country Inn from a Bed & Breakfast.

In the past, Berwood has catered large groups for weddings and dinners, which does not fall within the allowable uses for a bed &breakfast under the Fillmore County Zoning Ordinance.

Craig presented a draft ordinance for Country Inns modeled after a similar ordinance in Maryland. Under this classification, Country Inns would be allowed to provide facilities for catering banquets, weddings, receptions, reunions and similar one day events.

A specific conditional use permit would be required for a Country Inn.

•Large Assemblies. The commission looked at draft language governing large assemblies of more than 500 people. The ordinance would set up conditions under which an event with an expected attendance in excess of 500 people would be permitted and spells out the requirements organizers would have to meet. There are 16 requirements that were presented on Thursday.

Permanently established places of assembly such as churches, stadiums, athletic fields and auditoriums would be exempted from this ordinance. Permits would have to be applied for 120 days in advance of the event.

•Telecommunication Facili-ties. The commission discussed the need to better regulate how telecommunication towers are installed and developed. The plan discussed on Thursday would require all communication companies to look at sharing locations. The co-location plan would be the preferred method by which permits would be granted by the county and would allow permitted structures to be shared by other users.

The draft ordinance, which was adopted from a similar plan in Siren, Wisconsin, would also require permitted companies to carry a $30,000 surety bond to guarantee reclamation at the end of the towers use.

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Keith Culver of Sumner Township began a new term on the Planning Commission Thursday night, replacing Robert Knutson of Holt Township.

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