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Veterans Cemetery CUP approved

Fri, Apr 5th, 2013
Posted in All Features

The Planning Commission considered and approved two different Conditional Use Permits (CUP) at their March 28 meeting. This was the first Planning Commission meeting since November 2012. Gary Ruskell was elected chairman and Steve Duxbury was elected vice-chairman. The meetings will continue to be scheduled on the third Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m.

State Veterans Cemetery

A very detailed application for a CUP was submitted by Stantec Consulting on behalf of Fillmore County. The proposed cemetery is to be located on what is now county owned property south of Preston northeast of the Fillmore County Recycling Center, behind the state shop. Donation of the land for this purpose by the county put them toward the top of the list of possible veterans cemetery sites. The 176 acre proposed cemetery site is located in Carrolton and Preston Townships. A small parcel is within the Preston city limits, but owned by the county. It was recently rezoned by the city to Agricultural Residential allowing it to be permitted as a cemetery.

The purpose for building new veterans cemeteries is to provide reasonable access for veterans and their families. Reasonable access is defined as a cemetery option within a 75 mile radius for about 90 percent of the country’s veterans.

The state provides initial funding for studying the site and design which will be reimbursed when a federal grant is approved. The value of the land is not reimbursable.

Completion of construction documents and competitive bidding is expected to be done this spring. Initial construction is expected by the summer of 2014. “The proposed facility will be a unique, dramatic and expansive State Veterans Cemetery.”

The cemetery “will result in the development of approximately 58 of the overall 176 acre cemetery site at the completion of the final future phase.” One-hundred and eighteen acres will be preserved in a natural condition.

On the eastern boundary there is the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail. In the future a pedestrian path may connect the trail to the cemetery.

Access to the cemetery off Highway 52 will be on the same driveway as the MnDot District 6 Preston Truck Station.

The cemetery will be developed in phases, the first phase involving about 26 acres. Over 37,000 in-ground burial sites are planned. The full completion of the cemetery is anticipated to take 40 years.

There was no comment from the townships or the public during the public hearing. It was noted that Preston Mayor Kurt Reicks was in favor of approving the CUP. Chairman Gary Ruskell commented that it will be a great project for the area and that we are fortunate the county had the land. Duane Bakke noted that it has been in the works for about six years. He added that approval is in the end stages, as we are now waiting for approval from Washington D.C.

Bakke said there are plans for 3,000 preset vaults and about 300 burials are expected per year. There also will be a large area designed to inter cremated remains. The CUP was approved unanimously and will be sent on to the county board.

Amish School House

Andy and Esther Gingerich, Section 13 Amherst Township, applied for a CUP to build a 24 foot by 36 foot school house with a basement walkout and a 14 foot by 24 foot horse barn. There was no comment from the township or the public at the hearing. There had been communication before the meeting asking about a septic and concern about hunting in a nearby wooded area. Gingerich said they plan to build a fence around the school ground area. They are planning a portable outhouse with a concrete pit beneath.

Access to the school house will be off the Gingerich driveway. The CUP was approved and will be sent on to the county board.

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