Just as spring arrives, the county has purchased a new truck to clear spring snow from the roads.
Just as spring arrives, the county has purchased a new truck to clear spring snow from the roads. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/NEWS LEADER

Fillmore County Commissioners entertained a very brief agenda during the Tuesday, Feb. 27, meeting. 

During the citizens’ input portion of the meeting, Chatfield Township representatives Lowell Meeker and Forrest Hayden came before the board to register complaints about the county’s planning and zoning having issued a building permit to a township resident over the township board’s objections. 

Meeker stated, “We would like to have the county adopt a policy that it will not issue building permits without the person (going to both the county and township).  We denied it, and he (the landowner) said he figured out another way to go about it.  I’m not pointing a finger at (county zoning administrator) Cristal (Adkins), but in the past, the planning and zoning commission has always sent it back to the township.”

Commissioner Marc Prestby questioned, “What was the reason for the township’s denial?” 

Meeker answered that the home — already built — did not meet the township’s requirement for one home per quarter section. 

It came to light through further conversation led by Commissioner Duane Bakke that the county’s and township’s policies do not match, namely that the county allows construction of a home within a residential agricultural district within half a mile of town, whereas the township does not. With the apparent rezoning of the parcel in question by the township, the dilemma at hand arose. 

Bakke pointed out that several of the township’s ordinances are not aligned with its practices, including its zoning. 

“You have all these prohibitions going on in the township, things that you’re not enforcing,” Bakke said. “Also, I have confidence in Cristal, and I don’t think she’s issued any permits we haven’t seen.” 

Bakke added that action on objections to a proposed construction project should be followed up on as soon as the township is aware of or makes them. Once the county has a permit request in hand, it needs to act on it or the landowner may automatically receive the permit by default. 

Commissioner Randy Dahl commented that he believes in local government control, but he feels that communication between the township and county should be better. Dahl also stated he does not agree with the township having more authority than the county in zoning and other matters. 

The board advised the township to reexamine its zoning ordinances and work to align the language with the language in the county’s ordinances.        

Other business

Highway Engineer Ron Gregg brought forward several items needing approval from the County Board. First, he presented the gasoline and diesel fuel bids for the year, which were accepted. Second, he made a request for approval to attend the 2018 National Association of County Engineers Annual Conference, which was also approved. Third, the Board adopted a resolution to pursue a variance for the vertical alignment on the proposed canoe landing in the city of Rushford. Finally, he asked the Board to approve the purchase of a big yellow tandem truck and accompanying snowplow equipment through the state bid contract. Both of which were approved. 

Director of Nursing Jessica Erickson presented the 2017 expenditures for the public health department, highlighting that the total 2017 levy was $211,660 and the 2016 levy was $267,341. 

The consent agenda included granting a gambling permit for the Lanesboro Clay Dusters for a raffle with a drawing on July 21, and allowing family and medical leave for an employee effective approximately March 5 through the ensuing 12 weeks.