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Zoning office wants to treat all building permits the same


Fri, Dec 15th, 2006
Posted in Government

PRESTON - Fillmore County Zoning Administrator Norman Craig discussed a letter sent to townships from his office at the December 12 County Board meeting. Commissioners were disappointed that Craig had sent the letter before discussing the issue with the board. Disgruntled township members placed calls to some of the commissioners about the letter before commissioners were made aware of it's existence.

Craig sent the letter dated December 7, 2006, to township board members to make them aware of a new policy to be put into force January 1, 2007. He states that an effort has been made over the twenty years of his service to inform township members about land use permit applications. A requirement has been in place for a township to sign off on a permit. However, some townships, recognizing that zoning is the responsibility of the county, have opted out of signing applications for building projects.

Craig noted that land owners from the townships not requiring notification were able to secure a permit, assuming they met ordinance requirements, the same day or in a very short time. In townships requiring a signature the wait could be as long as sixty days. Therefore, Craig notified township boards that the new policy will be to "accept applications, determine completeness of the application, investigate to make sure it meets all zoning ordinance regulations and issue a permit." After issuing the permit, a copy will be sent to the township clerk, no signature required.

Chairman Duane Bakke insisted permits should not be issued for buildings and especially structures on new building sites without site inspections. Randy Dahl asked that applicants be required to mark the spot for a structure on a map, so that there is a record. Bakke agreed. Dahl liked the idea of all land owners being treated the same, regardless of their township location. Bakke asked whether townships would be informed daily when a permit was issued. Craig assured him that they would be. Dahl suggested that a marked map should also go to the township.

Commissioners made it clear to Craig that their greatest concern was new building sites. They requested that applications on new sites and some additional buildings on established sites also be e-mailed with a marked map to the commissioner from that district.

Bergey Permit

A permit approval for Jerry and Jodi Bergey for a new access was delayed at the last meeting partially because of Norman Craig's absence and unanswered questions. Both Duane Bakke and Chuck Amunrud have since visited the site along County Road 19 in Amherst Township. Craig had failed to include in the application that the Bergey's planned to eliminate one access in order to replace it with a more appropriate access. This satisfied commissioners on the question of the ordinance limiting the number of accesses. The permit was approved for the new access on the condition that an old access be eliminated.

Social Services

Thomas Boyd, Social Services, presented three legislative positions taken by Minnesota Association of County Social Service Administrators (MACSSA). Boyd noted that members of the 2007 state legislature from the area will be present at the December 19 meeting.

Boyd's priority is to get the state to provide funding for the years 2004 and 2005 to only those counties that have "authorized expenditures in excess of that county's MR/RC waiver allocation through unspent state funds from the 2005 appropriation." Fillmore County is one of the counties being billed by the state. At this time if the state does not receive repayment of these expenditures by May 31, 2007, the state intends to withhold those amounts from monies to be paid to the individual counties.

Boyd explained that counties do the work for federal and state programs. Expenditures for high need individuals are mandated by the state and can cause overspending by a county. This overspending would be funded by property owners if paid at the county level.

Scanlon Ford Bridge

A letter sent by the Carrolton Town Board on December 9 requested an update on the status of the Scanlon Ford Bridge project. The letter noted that a request was made to replace the bridge in the late 1990's. In 2005 the county board rejected the project because of the high cost due to access to the bridge for construction. The board had requested that an effort be made for the city of Lanesboro and the township to work together to improve the Oxcart Trail to make the bridge project more economical.

By consensus the board agreed the bridge project should move forward. They agreed that it should be sent on to the Highway Committee.

Final Budget and Levy Approved for 2007

County Coordinator Karen Brown noted that the 2007 budget has a 6% increase over 2006. The largest expenditure increase is from the Highway Department due to road and bridge projects that are planned. The increased cost of petroleum is reflected in most departments. Brown stated that the levy will be increased by 5%.

Other Business

• Jerrold Tesmer, University of MN Extension requested and was granted permission to purchase a new LCD projector to replace one that no longer worked.

• Deborah Teske, Veteran Services/Emergency Management requested and received a credit card for departmental use.

• The salary for Sheriff Daryl Jensen was set at $70,000 which was the amount he requested. It is about a 2.9% increase. Commissioners set their own salaries at $19,055 which represents a 3% increase. Salaries of newly elected officials will not be set until after they are sworn in, including the auditor/treasurer and the recorder.

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