Thursday, May 30, 2024

County Board amends zoning ordinance

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Kristian Braekkan, left, and Mercedes Sempé, right, of the Region Nine Development Commission, update the County Board on a Strategic Economic Development Plan at a meeting held on Tuesday, May 7.

It was just over one year ago, in April of 2023, that the Faribault County Board of Commissioners directed the Planning Commission to review the five acre requirement to build a new rural residence in the A-1 and A-2 Zoning Districts.

After many meetings and a public hearing on the matter, Planning and Zoning administrator Sara Hauskins came to the County Board meeting on Tuesday, May 7, with a proposed change to the county’s current policy.

“The public hearing was held on Feb. 13 of this year and notice was provided to townships, municipalities, and published in the Faribault County Register as required by law,” Hauskins said. “The Planning Commission’s recommendation to the Faribault County Commissioners is that the county amend the zoning ordinance to require 2.5 acres and a 300 x 300 foot minimum area to build a new residence.”

As part of the change to the policy, landowners will also have to provide soil boring areas for two Type 1 subsurface sewage treatment systems.

“If a site is being reduced to 2.5 acres, landowners will be required to provide a certificate of compliance for their current system and one alternative site. Should the current system not be in compliance with Statute 7080, the landowner would need to provide two Type 1 sites,” Hauskins explained. “All requirements will be at the cost of the landowner and done by a licensed septic contractor. Whether it is a new site or existing site being reduced to 2.5 acres, it will be required to meet the setbacks of the zoning district.”

The board adopted the changes on a 4-1 vote with board chairman Bill Groskreutz voting against the change.

The board also passed two other resolutions presented by Hauskins. One was to allow Faribault County the authority to review land divisions and transfers and the other one was to amend the Faribault County Subdivision Ordinance to allow administrative combine procedures.

Public Works director April Wellman was at the meeting and updated the County Board on road construction progress.

“The second lift should be completed on County Road 23 by the end of the week,” Wellman explained. “Although County Road 23 will not be completely done, the focus is going to shift to County Road 17 next, then County Road 11. The work on all three roads is expected to be completed by July 26.”

Wellman also shared information on the status of road construction on I-90.

“The east bound exit from I-90 to Highway 169 will be closed beginning May 15,” she said. “It is expected to be closed for two months. The detour will be County Road 8.”

Wellman also presented two bids to the County Board for the 2024 bridge replacement projects.

“Midwest Contracting, LLC and R & E Enterprises each submitted bids,” Wellman commented. “Midwest Contracting had the lower bid at $1,304,107 compared to $1,427,087 from R & E Enterprises.”

The bid from Midwest Contracting, which came in just over $100,000 higher than the engineer’s estimate, but $356,000 under the budgeted cost, was approved by the board. The bridge work is to be completed by early November.

In related Public Works Department news, the commissioners approved retaining the services of former highway engineer Mark Daly for four to eight hours per week through the end of July to assist Wellman in transitioning into her new job.

Kristian Braekkan and Mercedes Sempé of the Region Nine Development Commission were at the meeting to share the results of the Strategic Economic Development Plan they have been working on.

“The economic development plan consists of four major elements,” Braekkan explained. “They are economic assessment and market analysis, community and stakeholder outreach, competitive positioning and a work implementation plan.”

The study looked at industry investment and innovation, training and workforce development and infrastructure.

“We also conducted a community survey to gauge the viewpoints of residents about their county,” Sempé said. “The survey painted an encouraging picture with over 60 percent of those surveyed listing quality of life as the major positive reason for living in the county.”

According to the survey, people listed lack of business, lack of jobs and a declining population as the top three challenges facing their communities.

“One of the things the county could look at taking advantage of is their location,” Braekkan added. “You have access to two major roads which is an advantage many communities do not have.”

The board also:

• Approved the training request of Wellman to attend a Minnesota County Engineers Association OneOffice Software Training seminar and a Minnesota Department of Transportation District 6 and District 7 Partnership meeting.

• Voted to approve the request of Drainage Department employees Merissa Lore, Dustin Anderson, and Luke Schonborn to attend the ISG Spring Field Tour.

• Approved the request of Planning and Zoning administrator Sara Hauskins and GIS coordinator Brandee Douglas to attend the Legal Descriptions Complete Course which is for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

• Approved a motion to join a class action lawsuit to recover credit card fees for the County Recorder’s office.

• Voted to renew the Ag Center server warranty.

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