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County moves ahead on airport building

Fri, May 4th, 2007
Posted in Government

PRESTON - County Engineer John Grindeland led a discussion about the possibility of erecting a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) building at the Preston/Fillmore County Airport at the commissioners May 1 meeting. Commissioner Randy Dahl related that the Airport Committee has plans to build such a building in one of the next several years. Grindeland made clear that a decision was necessary if the county was to take advantage of available state funds that would cover half the cost of the shell of the building. Grindeland estimates that the shell will cost a total of $60,000. All costs inside the shell including insulation, walls, facilities, etc. would be borne 100% by the county. Also, he noted that the cost of building structure would continue to rise in the coming years.

Grindeland stressed that he needs to let the state Office of Aeronautics know if the county wants the state funds as their fiscal year is coming to an end.

The 50-50 cost share from the state would require the building to be used as a FBO building. Otherwise the half share would have to be reimbursed to the state if the building were used for any other purpose any time in the future.

The building would be used by a "tenant" FBO operator who Grindeland suggested would also share in some of the cost of the interior. Grindeland estimated that the interior costs would be approximately $20,000 and that the "tenant" could share equally with the county in that cost. Potentially, the "tenant" would enter into a contract with the county, where over a ten year period the county's share of the interior costs would be reimbursed to the county by the "tenant," after which the county would receive a monthly income from the "tenant." Grindeland notes that the prospective "tenant" is a flight instructor and is a qualified mechanic.

The board voted to go ahead with the FBO project contingent on receiving cost share monies from the state.


Zoning Administrator Norman Craig asked the board for and received approval for two of the three CUP's as recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission at their April 19 meeting.

Eco Energy out of Elgin, Illinois, plans to construct a Met (Wind) Tower in Bristol Township on the Lester and Kay Prinsen property south of Greenleafton. Commissioner Duane Bakke noted that specific wind speeds will be measured over a period of years. The study is to assess the area as a possible location for a wind farm. The CUP was approved.

A CUP was granted to Tom Atwell to construct a pond on his property in Chatfield Township east of Chatfield. The pond will be rubber lined and may be eventually stocked with fish for private use. County Attorney Brett Corson made it clear that the pond could not be used for commercial purposes.

Orval Sorum and Sons have petitioned for a CUP for the Semmen Rock Quarry in Norway Township north of Choice. Commissioner Randy Dahl stated that he has received phone calls from neighbors around the Sorum property. The Sorums included their whole farm in the survey as boundaries for the quarry. Dahl argued that the 1,000 foot setback for structures from the boundaries of a quarry are not appropriate when the whole farm is included as a quarry. Chairman Marc Prestby noted that other quarries have included large acreages as a quarry where not all of the land would be feasible to work as a quarry.

Dahl suggested that in reviewing the county ordinances which has been ongoing, revisions to the ordinance will probably require land owners to delineate the size of the quarry to an area where it would be financially feasible to quarry rock. Commission Chuck Amunrud asked if we want them to show a "workable area?"

Craig noted that there was a letter in the Sorum file releasing the county from the legality of the 60 day rule, giving the board more time to make a decision. Commissioner Bakke suggested if in this case there was not a legal deadline, that they should take time to work through the changes in the ordinance.

Dahl asked Craig to go back and ask the Sorum's if they would be willing to voluntarily shrink the boundaries. Dahl noted that he was in favor of approving the quarry, but could not back it with the boundaries being the whole farm. He said that it would be too much of an impact on the neighbors. Bakke said that he would be in favor if they came back with a feasible working area. Corson stated that it was reasonable to put a limitation on as part of the Conditional Use process. Amunrud suggested that in the future a geological survey could be part of the process. No action was taken on the CUP.

Foster Care Month

Director of Social Services Thomas Boyd discussed challenges in providing foster care and stated that May is Foster Care Month. He suggested that it is increasingly difficult to find foster parents as both parents often work outside of the home. Children needing foster care can sometimes be difficult to handle. Foster homes are supposed offer a temporary placement for children until they can be returned home, placed with relatives, or adopted. In 2006, 73% of children placed in foster care were reunited with their family.

Foster parents must be 21 years old and may be married, single, renters or homeowners.

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