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Zoning Commission recommends eliminating water bottling limits

Fri, Mar 28th, 2014
Posted in All Government

At the March 20 meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission, a motion to strike item 2 of Section 735, the ordinance for Extraction of Water for Water Bottling Purposes, was approved. Item 2 limited the bottling of water to 2,500 gallons per day in the Ag District.

Gerald Payne, representing Artesian Wells, Inc. (Artesian Fresh), had made a request at a January meeting to revisit the ordinance and eliminate the daily restriction so that they could better meet the seasonal demand of their customers. He explained that demand for their product increases in April through summer and fall and falls off during the winter. The State of Minnesota requires a water appropriation permit if water use is over 10,000 gallons per day or over one million gallons per year.

The artesian well is located near Leroy and is about 400 feet deep flowing from the Galena aquifer. It pumps about 250 gallons per minute.

During the public hearing Duane Bakke maintained that the 2,500 per day limit was written into the ordinance originally because this was brand new, so an arbitrary number was selected as a beginning point. He added that some livestock operations use over 1 million gallons per year and some operations that have requested a permit from the state have been denied. Bakke said the DNR is clamping down on water appropriations.

There was some discussion about the definition of an artesian well. My Oxford dictionary defines an artesian well as “a well bored perpendicularly, especially through rock, into water-bearing strata lying at an angle, so that natural pressure produces a constant supply of water with little or no pumping.”

Rita LeDuc, Pilot Mound Township, was concerned about future applicants, asking whether it might then be too late without a restriction in the ordinance. Bakke said the amount used per day could still be limited. Anyone establishing a water bottling business within Fillmore County will need to apply for a Conditional Use Permit that can have conditions added to it.

The county board will consider the recommendation and make a decision whether or not to strike item 2 at a future meeting.

Feedlot Ordinance

A draft of possible changes to the feedlot ordinance was discussed. Zoning Administrator Chris Graves said the language has been cleaned up shortening the ordinance.

Feedlot Officer Mike Frauenkron described additional changes to Section 13, Manure Storage Requirements. He proposed that compliance checks be stepped up for manure storage structures that are not covered by a building. It was suggested that owners must notify the zoning department within 24 hours after pumping out their pit for a compliance inspection.

The intention is to look at the floor and see if there are major cracks and to look for splitting of the concrete on the sides to see if immediate maintenance is necessary.

Bakke added that the board will want there to be an inspection log and a notification log. If an owner fails to notify as required, the violation would be a misdemeanor.

This was the only addition discussed to the draft presented. A motion was approved to have a public hearing on the proposed feedlot ordinance changes at the May 15 meeting.

Other business in brief

•Conditional uses in the Ag District were discussed. Number 13 under conditional uses reads, “Publicly owned and operated buildings except when operated for commercial purposes.” Bakke noted that there are existing buildings on the Highway 16, 52 and 63 corridors that can not be utilized under the current ordinance.

The discussion was to allow existing buildings that have not been previously permitted as a dwelling to be used for business. It was noted that some pending sales in the county are being held up because of the ordinance.

Gary Ruskell suggested they look at new buildings, also. Bakke was concerned about traffic on the highway corridors and suggested it is best keep business and industry in or close to municipalities where utilities are accessible. Ruskell suggested there could be an alternative zoning for the highway corridors.

A public hearing will be held at the April 10 meeting on an amendment to the conditional uses (number 13) in the Ag District.

Bakke also suggested the ordinance should have language prohibiting apartment buildings in the Ag District. Subdivisions are currently prohibited. The former Stateline Motel has recently been converted to apartments. It was decided to discuss this further at a later date.

•In order to improve cellular coverage and to provide 4G service ATt&T applied for Condition Use Permits (CUPs) to erect two telecommunication towers in the county.

A 295 foot communications tower is proposed to be located on the property of Lyle and Marilyn Affeldt, Fillmore Township, Section 34.

A 180 foot communications tower is proposed to be located on the property of Ronald and Mary Ullom, Beaver Township, Section 22.

After public hearings both CUPs for the communication towers were approved.

Board of Adjustment

An 11 foot variance was requested by Verdon and Renee Hasleiet, Carrolton Township, Section 7E, to build a 24 x 30 foot garage on their property. The variance was approved allowing the garage to be setback 62 foot from Fawn Drive rather than the required 73 foot setback.

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