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Ordinance amendments and meteorological and communication towers

The Fillmore County Planning Commission held four public hearings at its July 23 meeting.

Timberwolf Wind, LLC has applied for a conditional use permit to construct a meteorological tower on property owned by John and Jacqueline Ryan, section 30, Harmony Township. This application is for a tower exactly like the one recently approved to be located in Bristol Township. The temporary 196-foot meteorological tower will be used to validate/confirm wind resources for a potential wind farm. It is expected to be operational 2-5 years.

There was no comment from the township or the public. Approval was given to send the application on to the county board to be considered on September 1.

Powder River Development Services, LLC has applied for a conditional use permit to construct a communications tower on property owned by Ron and Tina Sand, section 35, Norway Township. AT&T and First Net equipment will be installed on the tower. Curt Walter said they are striving for better capacity. First responders will have better coverage. The new 300-foot tower will be built next to an existing tower. The existing radio tower failed a structural analysis for the installation of the new equipment.

Trinity Johnson referred to a comment he had received from the township. Township supervisors wanted to make sure the driveway for the tower wouldn’t interfere with water drainage for the township road. There were no other comments from the township or the public. Approval was given to send the application on to the county board to be considered on September 1.

The third public hearing was on the proposed zoning ordinance amendment to 604.03(13). The amendment will add State Highway 56. There was no comment from the public. (13)under Conditional Uses: Commercial or industrial uses primarily intended to serve agriculture. Non-agricultural commercial or industrial uses can be located in “existing buildings, not previously permitted as a dwelling, sited adjacent to the US 52, US 63, State Highway 16, and State Highway 56 corridors.” Approval was given to send the amendment language on to the county board for their consideration at their September 1 meeting.

The last public hearing was on an amendment to Section 5, SSTS Standards, 501.2 (f)Alternative Local Standards. The additional language to 2 (f) reads “A gray water system may not be installed by the landowner if the system involves the use of a pump. Pressurized systems, pre-treatment systems, at-grades or mounds cannot be constructed by anyone other than a licensed installer.”

Zoning Administrator Cristal Adkins noted the state code allows for homeowner installation. This will continue unless the installation requires more technical work. This ordinance amendment will make the county ordinance more restrictive than the state code. There was no comment from the public. Approval was given to send the amendment as written on to the county board for their consideration at their September 1 meeting.

Other business

•Adkins said she would like to trim down the language for Rock Quarries and Sand Pits, Section 721. There is a lot of language that we don’t need. Reclamation plans are not what people perceive them to be. Reclamation often involves sloping the outsides as much as possible and fencing for safety. Few quarries close once they are open. Language in the ordinance for bond and assurances is excessive. Adkins plans to bring potential language revisions to the next meeting for discussion.

•The Planning Commission plans to meet next on September 24.