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Commission looks at zoning changes

Fri, Jan 19th, 2001
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Monday, January 22, 2001

The Fillmore County Planning Commission met in a work session on Friday, January 19th, to discuss several proposed amendments to the county Zoning Ordinance.

While some of the proposed amendments are of small significance, such as conforming to a state statute requirement to give notification of a variance hearing to neighbors within 500 feet vs. the county’s ordinance requirement of 350 feet, some of the changes proposed could be significant to many landowners.


Last summer, the Fillmore County Planning Commission asked eight citizens to serve on a volunteer committee to make recommendations on changes that might be needed in the County Subdivision Ordinance. Zoning Ordinance Amendment 2001-F is a result of that committee’s findings and recommends more restrictive changes to the subdivision requirements.

Current zoning law allows one 12-lot subdivision per section in the rural Ag District. The proposed change would prohibit subdivisions that are not within 1/2 mile of a municipality. The amendment would require the streets of the subdivision be hard-topped and the road that connects the subdivision to the city must also be a paved road. There would also have to be at least one thru road in each subdivision, eliminating the single cul-de-sac type of subdivision characterized in rural development.

The 12-lot cap would be lifted on this proposed change, but the minimum lot size in this 1/2 mile zone outside the municipality would remain at the current size of 2.5 acres.

The timeliness of this proposed change is noteworthy, as the Lanesboro City Council is considering, at its meeting tonight, an application for a proposed 3-lot subdivision in Holt Township that would fall outside of that 1/2 mile limit. State law allows municipalities to enforce their subdivision ordinance on all subdivisions proposed within two miles of their boundaries.

Rock Quarries

Of other significant importance is the proposed Zoning Amendment 2001-H which would remove the five-year renewal process for permitted rock quarries. This change would result in the elimination of the automatic public hearings that are triggered at permit renewal time.

According to the amendment 2001-H document, the zoning office is seeking to find a way that the public hearings could be eliminated, so that the commission could "get through this process without all the controversy attached to it…."

The document goes further to note that with the elimination of the five-year renewal process and the subsequent public hearings, the county board could review the permits, but could not "remove or add a condition in the event that a problem arises."

The Planning Commission held public hearings last year on renewal application of 26 quarries and sandpits. Many of the public hearings were emotionally charged, with scores of citizens in attendance to complain of noise, dust and speeding trucks.


An outdoor sign company from LaCrosse, Wisconsin has approached the Fillmore County Zoning Office to construct a billboard in the county that would be 300 square feet. The County ordinance restricts the size of billboards to 250 square feet. So, Zoning Amendment 2001-C seeks to change the ordinance to 300 square feet.

The company seeking the approval for the 300 square feet has stated that there is a national standard size of 300 square feet for billboards, and that Fillmore County’s ordinance is too restrictive.
Other Changes

The Planning Commission is also considering the following zoning amendment proposals:

• 2001-A: Would amend the ordinance to put a 12 month time limit for substantial completion on Conditional Use permit work, unless it is a Phased Construction Plan.

• 2001-B: Seeks discussion on whether resorts should be allowed in the unincorporated areas.

• 2001-E: Defines a bunkhouse.

• 2001-G: Would eliminate the three person separate Board of Adjustment and replace it with five members of the Planning Commission.

The Planning Commission meets in regular session this Thursday, January 25, 2001 at 7:30 P.M. in the conference room on the lower floor of the Fillmore County Office Building. These zoning issues are on the agenda for discussion only. Any of the above changes in the ordinance would require a public hearing at a later date.

By Mike McGrath

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