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Planning Commission

Sun, Nov 26th, 2000
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Good Earth Village to expandBy Al MathisonMonday, November 27, 2000

There were several items on the Fillmore County Planning Commissions agenda last Tuesday evening. The first was a conditional use permit (CUP) request by Alliant Energy to add 55 feet onto a microwave tower two miles east of Spring Valley. Jim Cnossen, representing Alliant Energy, said that the towers current height was 195 feet, and would be 250 feet with the addition. He said that the companys microwave system on the tower was 30 years old and that the plan was to update it to a digital system, which would require the height addition.

The planning commission voted to send the CUP request on to the County Board with the stipulation that Alliant obtain all necessary federal permits.

Next up was a request for a CUP renewal for Pederson Brothers of Harmony for the Haug Quarry in Section 4 of Canton Township. A nearby resident, whose house is about 1,200 feet from the quarry, spoke up saying that his house had sustained cracks in its foundation. "Im 99% sure that the blasting is the cause," he said, "not to mention the well damage, septic damage and the danger to our kids from the trucks on the road."

Mike Torgerson representing Pederson Bros. said that the blasting company, Olson Explosives of Decorah, always tested for vibrations with a seismograph when they blasted. They also took a reading on the decibel levels of the noise.

"We have all those records on file," Torgerson said. He went on to say that blasting had only been conducted at the quarry once this past summer and once last fall.

Before agreeing to send the permit on to the County Board, the commission added the stipulation that a copy of Olson Explosives liability insurance be kept on file with the county.

Good Earth Village, a 500-acre camp and retreat affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church, is planning a three phase expansion. The first phase is to construct a two-story 10,000 square foot log building, an amphitheater, garage and parking area. Phase II will see a dining hall addition and an office/health care center built. Plans for Phase III calls for a dormitory sleep room addition.

Executive Director David Herder asked if the master plan for all phases could be approved by the county in "one sweep". That way Herder would not have to return to the planning commission and the county board for each additional building project.

Zoning Officer Norm Craig said that he would have to discuss the matter with the county attorney. "Its possible that we could amend the ordinance to take into consideration a phased implementation of construction," Craig said.

The planning commission agreed that it would be easier and more expedient for Good Earth Village if they could do their phased construction under one permit and they voted to send the request on to the County Board.

In other business the planning commission approved the rezoning of 1 1/2 acres of ag land to commercial for a storage business for Larry and Melissa Schmidt in Spring Valley Township.

By Al Mathison

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