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Planning Commission reviews ordinances

Fri, Nov 17th, 2006
Posted in Government

Preston - On November 16 the Fillmore County Planning Commission met to review the county's Ag District ordinances and develop a plan to review and update the other county ordinances. Norman Craig, Zoning Administrator, reported that the current county ordinances had not been reviewed since their implementation - almost 20 years ago. Two years ago an attorney was hired to review the county's ordinances and provide recommendations for edits and language changes. These changes were delivered to Craig's office in a 40+ page document. Last Spring the Planning Commission began to review the ordinances, along with the attorney's recommendations to decide which changes to implement, Craig recommends resuming this work.

Chairman Mike Tuohy recommended that in the interest of time the commission form a subgroup to review these ordinance issues, develop a list of recommendations then report these back to the commission for a formal vote. These recommendations would then be sent to the county commissioners for their evaluation and final vote. He explained that by going through such a large amount of ordinance changes during commission meetings could take almost the entire year while a committee could get this done in 2-3 day-long meetings. The commission agreed to this recommendation, many volunteered to sit on the subgroup and they set up meeting dates for January 16 and January 30 of 2007. If all goes well the commission could vote on the subcommittee recommendations during their February 2007 meeting.

Because 90% of Fillmore County's land falls within the guidelines of the county's Ag Districts the entire commission reviewed these ordinances. All edits concerned removal of ordinance language that didn't seem pertinent to the county or was outdated. For example, current ordinance language states that county access drives shall be no more than 24' in width for an agricultural lot. Because of the increase in equipment size this width is not workable for farmers with large pieces of machinery - the county deleted this ordinance and now states that the access drive must be in compliance with county engineer recommendations.

Concluding this discussion the commission changed topics and reviewed ordinances for sewer inspections in the event of sale or transfer of property. The commission discussed how the ordinance should be enforced - either through a permit process or requiring the documentation to go through the property's loan process. Craig reported he was not sure if the enforcement could go through the loan process but if it could it would save the county zoning office a considerable amount of work. He reported he would check with state guidelines and attorneys to see if this was possible and report his findings to the commission during the next meeting.

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