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Planning Commission begins looking at campgrounds

Fri, Sep 15th, 2006
Posted in Government

The Fillmore County Planning & Zoning Commission listened to input from two Pilot Mound residents about campgrounds at their Thursday, September 14 meeting. The commission is in the process of re-writing the rules and regulations in the zoning ordinance governing campgrounds.

Commission Chair Mike Tuohy told the assembled that the commission was not interested in discussing specific campgrounds, but about campgrounds generally.

Karl Unnasch began his testimony by asking, "How does a campground qualify as an agricultural activity?" (Campgrounds are an approved use in the Ag District).

Unnasch suggested that the county may want to consider the impact campgrounds have on rural areas in that they place an excessive burden on infrastructure.

"In most cases, campgrounds will double the size of the township," Unnasch said, referring to seasonal population. "The use [campgrounds in Ag District] should not have an adverse effect on the health and welfare of the public."

Unnasch also expressed concern about the impact on the Root River by increased recreational usage and the need to put in place conservation practices. He gave the example of requiring non-breakable beverage containers.

"As city populations become more dense, recreation will increase in our area, placing greater stresses on our natural resources," Unnasch warned.

Rita LeDuc spoke about the Karst geology of the area and her concerns about high density developments close to the river. She told the commission that she is worried about pollution to the river and groundwater.

"The North Branch is healthy," LeDuc said. "A gift of this nature requires great responsibility."

Tuohy said that the commission will continue to look at the rules regarding campgrounds at their November 16 meeting, with hopes that any changes will be adopted by the County Board sometime in the spring of 2007.

Commercial Activity in

Ag District

The Commission is also reviewing the zoning ordinance regarding permitted use of commercial activity in the Ag District. These are usually home-based businesses that are compatible with farming, such as farm repair shops.

Zoning Administrator Norm Craig said that the goal is to keep the rural areas free of large commercial activity which are better placed in and around cities.

Craig said that the commission needs to think of how to limit the size of the operation, including number of employees. The commission will continue discussing this issue in the future.

Board of Adjustment

• Approved a variance of 13 feet from the center line of the road for Michael and Patricia Simonson to build an addition on their home in Section 11 of Bloomfield Township.

• Approved a variance of 11 feet from the center line of the road for Baudoin Oil Company to build an addition to their business in Spring Valley Township.

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