"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
Saturday, March 8th, 2014
Volume ∞ Issue ∞
- 3:44:17, Mar 7th 2014 - Robert - Fossil fuels are damaging are resources, polluting are air & water and destr ... [Read More]
- 12:32:02, Mar 7th 2014 - - "Turks suffered at the hands of Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia. Hundreds of thousand ... [Read More]
- 7:38:38, Mar 5th 2014 - bootscoot21 - Thank you Dr. Van Gorp for this complete look at what our generation is ... [Read More]
- 8:39:53, Mar 4th 2014 - email@example.com - Excellent commentary, very thoughtful. Although quite len ... [Read More]
- 9:54:09, Mar 1st 2014 - - We have lost a good friend from Harmony High school class of 1970. I have many goo ... [Read More]
- 9:48:08, Mar 1st 2014 - - Rest in Peace Loenard ... [Read More]
- 9:14:19, Feb 25th 2014 - firstname.lastname@example.org - Eric, I don't know if you remember me but I am Erik Paulsen's M ... [Read More]
- 8:58:12, Feb 25th 2014 - jjoyengel - You are both wonderful people! You have and are doing something not just ... [Read More]
- 3:16:25, Feb 24th 2014 - TY - THANK YOU FCJ! I am not sure any of this would have happened without the excelle ... [Read More]
- 6:29:53, Feb 23rd 2014 - Proud family member - Thank you for this wonderful article about my nephew and his fa ... [Read More]
There were ten items on the planner’s agenda and the majority of the assembled were there for the Dan Miller sawmill conditional use permit (CUP) hearing. Due to a recent amendment to the zoning ordinance, new or expanding sawmills in the ag district now are required to have a CUP in order to operate as a business.
Miller’s sawmill, which is located on property owned by his neighbor, Dan Gingrich, in Section 9 of Amherst Township is the first sawmill to go through the new permitting process. If Thursday’s emotional public hearing on Miller’s sawmill is any indication it appears that sawmills can be added to the list of controversial topics that the planning commission deals with.
Dave Lawstuen, who lives just east of the site, expressed concerns regarding safety. He said there was limited visibility due to slab piles near the road and that on three occasions, while driving, he had had close calls with trucks. He also said that their heavy use of the township road was taking a heavy toll on the road itself.
Lawstuen said that Miller was a friend and a good neighbor of his, but that the site was just the wrong place for a sawmill. He pointed out that there was already one Amish sawmill at the site. "It’s a dangerous situation with one sawmill," he said. "By adding another it will become a treacherous situation."
Bob Olson, who lives next to the site, spoke up next. "I understand that he put this in without a permit. I want to know what action has been taken?"
"We haven’t taken any action," Zoning administrator Norm Craig replied.
"If I had a sawmill I’d have to operate under OSHA laws. You’ve got young kids working there with open blades and there’s sawdust exposure. I think somebody should look into it," Olson said. "The truck traffic and the dust is unbelievable. We’ve got a four-ton road and you’ve got twenty ton loads going on it."
Dick Bahl, owner of Root River Hardwoods, who has contracted Miller to cut logs for him, spoke up next. He said that at the most there were two or three trucks using the road per day. Bahl said that they were not piling up slabs any more and that they were not using the township road to the east.
For the next hour the commission heard further testimony from the public and then discussed various stipulations to put on the CUP. Planning commission member Mike Tuohy made the observation that in 1946, there were 425 sawmills in Fillmore County. By 1990, the number had shrunk to seven or eight, he said.
"And now the number is coming back up and we’re trying to address the potential problems," Tuohy said.
The planners eventually recommended sending the permit on to the county board with the following stipulations:
1) A set back of 50 feet from the township road for slabs, lumber, logs, sawdust and equipment.
2) No trucks allowed to be parked on the township road.
3) Limit the size of the sawmill area to 2.5 acres.
4) Both driveways at location to remain open.
Later while discussing zoning issues, the planning commission moved to hold a public hearing at their next meeting in August, to change the zoning ordinance again, this time to require that all sawmills (not just new or expanding ones) conducting business go through the CUP process every five years.
"We need to go on a road tour and find out how many sawmills are out there," Norm Craig said.