"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
Online Edition
Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
Volume ∞ Issue ∞

County Board hires zoning attorney on retainer

Fri, Jun 29th, 2007
Posted in Government

Norman Craig asked the county board at their June 26 meeting to approve the hiring of Scott Anderson, a land use attorney, on an hourly basis to answer zoning questions. Anderson is hired or put on retainer by other counties as a consultant on a continuous basis. Anderson would charge $150 per hour or $6,000 annually. Bakke called him a "guru" on county zoning issues. Bakke suggested that he could be used to confirm the Fillmore County Attorney's opinion if there was a disagreement between him and Craig or the commissioners on an opinion. Bakke added that Anderson has answered a couple of questions about zoning and both times concurred with Corson's opinion.

Prestby said that he wouldn't consider hiring Anderson if Brett Corson wasn't leaving for active military duty for about a year. Hiring Anderson at an hourly rate was approved. The use will be limited to times when questions arise that cause the county attorney and/or zoning administrator and/or commissioners to disagree. Corson said that there has to be a process, utilizing the county staff first. The use will be monitored for cost and reported back to the board.

In other zoning matters, Janet Welch of Spring Valley Township asked the County Board at their June 26 meeting to consider the more restrictive zoning rules of the township. Welch was speaking during the monthly Citizen's Input.

Chairman Marc Prestby responded to Welch calling this "spot zoning." Commissioner Randy Dahl stated that Zoning Administrator Norman Craig is to attach a letter to permits in townships that may have more restrictive ordinances than the county. Craig noted that the county don't accept applications unless there is a signed permit from the township or unless we know the proposed project is within the township ordinances.

Commissioner Duane Bakke, a member of the subcommittee working on county ordinance revisions, expects that there could be a public hearing in August. Dahl added that township concerns will be part of the planning process.

Spring Valley Township Supervisor Jon Nolte insisted that he wants the permitting to be back with the county where it belongs. Commissioner Chuck Amunrud added that the township is asking for a more restrictive ordinance than the county, and wanting the county to enforce it. Bakke suggested that they wait and see how the county designs its ordinance. At that point, each township can decide whether to follow the county ordinance or have their own more restrictive ordinance.

The board set a $50 fee to cover processing for name changes to a Conditional Use Permit. Craig also suggested the board consider whether it is appropriate to continue charging the same fee that would have been charged for the original permit when a shed, silo, grain bin or other accessory structure is "altered or converted." Craig noted that these original permits were based on the square footage or "footprint" on the ground. When height is added to an existing grain bin, a permit is now required and with the same fee as the original structure. The board suggested Planning and Zoning address the issue.

Law Enforcement

Michael Ask explained that a severe lightening strike on May 24 hit the dish and microwave tower and took out the "brains" of the radio system. He said that the back-up system worked and that new equipment was installed later in the day. The new equipment will cost $8,000 and has been verbally okayed by insurance. The board decided to go with new equipment rather than go with a repair that may or may not work over time.

Sheriff Daryl Jensen asked for and received approval to purchase a used in-car video system and LED light bar at a greatly reduced cost compared to new. The board also accepted the low quote of $9,000 to move computer equipment to the sheriff's office climate controlled area.

Jensen asked the board to consider new law enforcement agreements with the cities of Harmony, Mabel, and Canton. Jensen said that he met with each of the city councils. He noted that the changes are mostly minor language changes. The board will take some time to review the agreements and bring them back to their next meeting.

The sheriff asked for and received approval to apply for a grant from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to purchase AED (automated external defibrillator) defibrillators. Jensen said that he would ask for five if the grant was awarded. If funded, the grant would pay 100% of their cost.

Highway Matters

The board passed a resolution allowing no parking on a portion of County Road 5 in the unincorporated town of Fillmore. Highway Engineer John Grindeland explained that the road was not sufficiently wide to allow parking. He said that the land owners have agreed to park off the street.

Three bridge bids were accepted. All the low bids were by Minnowa Construction. The expensive Scanlon Ford Bridge in Carrolton Township came in at $767,561 which is about $50,000 lower than the last time it was bid and rejected some time ago. The construction of this bridge won't start until after Labor Day per agreement with the DNR.

The low bid for the 2007 Fillmore County Airport project from Road Constructors was accepted at $184,549.08. Grindeland explained that the project is to be funded by federal, state and local dollars. The county's share is expected to be $16,503.24.

Other Business

• Deborah Teske, Emergency Management/Veterans Services, asked for and received approval for a Regional Management and Mutual Aid Agreement. She explained that this included counties in the southeast part of the state which were arbitrarily lumped together by the state for this purpose.

Teske asked the board to approve the purchase of identification card equipment which would include ID cards for all county employees and a bar code reader. She said that the current badges can be easily duplicated. Amunrud moved to purchase at the low quote. The motion died for lack of a second. Dahl said that he would like time to think about it.

• Danea Swenson, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), discussed options for replacing intersection signs. Dahl said that the Highway Department should supply the labor to put up new signs. The cost of the signs would come out of the GIS budget.

Bakke asked whether the company contracted to put up the original signs thinks that they have completed the job. Final payment has not been made. Swenson thinks they do think that the job is done. Attorney Corson suggested that if the county is withholding some funds for incomplete work, that there should be a paper trail. The board authorized Corson to send a letter to the company to give them a period of time in which the work should be completed and detailing the work that is not satisfactorily completed. Their responsibility would only include the original signs.

The board approved the GIS public subscription site to be launched on August 1. The annual fee of $150 was approved for subscribers.

• The county commissioners approved a new logo for the county at their June 26 meeting. The serene photo of one of the county's numerous streams is cut to the shape of the state with the county marked by a star. The logo will appear on county maps. The design of the logo was recommended by the Technology/Land Use/ GIS Committee.

No Comments Yet. Be the first to comment!

Your comment submission is also an acknowledgement that this information may be reprinted in other formats such as the newspaper.