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Wind study approved in Greenleafton area

Fri, Apr 20th, 2007
Posted in Government

PRESTON - On Thursday, April 19, 2007 the Fillmore County Zoning Board met to review three conditional use permits (CUPs) and to discuss zoning ordinance revisions.

Eco Energy Wind Tower

The Zoning Board welcomed Paul Roeder of Eco Energy of Elgin, IL. Eco Energy petitioned for a CUP to construct a Met (Wind) Tower on the Lester and Kay Prinsen property in Bristol Township approximately two miles south of Greenleafton. After reviewing the application Zoning Board members asked what the project would entail. Roeder replied that Eco Energy will be putting up a 195' tower to record the wind speeds of the area. The tower will record the wind speeds of three heights - 15' up the tower, 150' up the tower and the tower's top at 195'. The duration of the study will be approximately 3 - 5 years. At that time Eco Energy would determine if the location would be a good building site for a possible wind farm.

Commissioner Duane Bakke asked Roeder if the data Eco Energy is collecting would be available to the public. Roeder replied that because Eco Energy is paying for the data collection the findings would be proprietary. Bakke also asked that if Eco Energy were to build a wind farm if it would hinder county resident's efforts to develop similar farms. Zoning Administrator Norman Craig assured Bakke that if Eco Energy were to build a wind farm they would need to get a different permit and at that time the Zoning Board would have that discussion. Concluding this review the board approved the petition.

Tom Atwell Pond

Tom Atwell petitioned for a CUP to construct a pond on his property in Chatfield Township approximately 2.5 miles east of the City of Chatfield. The pond will be approximately 180'x 280' and will be constructed on an area that already has a dyke or sediment pit. The pond will be lined with a rubber liner. Once the pond is built it will take approximately 2.6 million gallons of water to fill it. Atwell reported that he planned on filling the pond with a garden hose connected to his well line, he estimates it will take the hose about three months to fill the pond with water.

After the pond is filled it will have an aeration system and will possibly be stocked with fish. During the Board's question period it was asked if measures would be taken in terms of water overflow. Atwell and an engineer replied that yes it would be designed with two systems. After Atwell and the Board concluded their discussion, the Board passed Atwell's petition.

Semmen Rock Quarry

Lyle Sorum of Orval Sorum & Sons petitioned the Board to renew a CUP to operate a rock quarry located in Norway Township, approximately two miles north of Choice. Before the discussion began, the Board explained to Sorum that the commission will investigate each quarry CUP to see if the quarry is zoned for areas that are not reasonable to be zoned as a rock quarry. It appears that in other areas of the county, quarries are zoned for many more acres than is feasible to actually quarry the rock making it difficult for neighbors to build near the zoning lines.

Sorum said he understood but wanted to clarify why such zoning standards were set in place. About 15-20 years ago, before the time of any of the Zoning Board member's service, the Board at the time put such measures in place to control the dust and water levels for those who owned property neighboring the quarry. The board replied that it appreciated Sorum's historical perspective and hoped Sorum would be willing to help them with their quarry work in the future.

After this discussion the Board reviewed Sorum's quarry CUP petition. To the majority of Board members it appeared that Sorum's quarry was within reasonable boundaries and did not include unreasonable areas. Concluding this discussion the Board approved Sorum's petition.

Ordinance Revisions

Following Zoning business the Board discussed revisions to the county's zoning ordinances. Information on this revision process and outcomes is available at the Fillmore County Zoning website at http://www.co.fillmore.mn.us/zoning.htm.

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