Land requests make their way through county board
By Emily Bialkowski
The Houston County Board made quick work of recommendations set forth by the plan commission.
One rezone, three CUPs and 12 zoning permits were entertained. Zoning Administrator Bob Scanlan explained the projects.
Nick Thesing of Money Creek Township requested that a five-acre parcel he owns be rezoned from A-1 to residential so he may build a house on it. The property is north of Houston on Hwy. 76 and about a mile from Money Creek.
Scanlan said the plan commission has typically given favor to such requests when the lot is close to a town.
The commission recommended approving Thesing’s request, and the board voted accordingly. The next step for Thesing will be to get a preliminary plat done in June and then a final plat.
Three conditional use permits were requested in May, including one related to a construction sand mine near Caledonia Area High School. The request was tabled so plan commission members can visit the mine and obtain more information on the operator’s desire to expand the footprint of the mine.
Another CUP from Northern Natural Gas received a quick nod from the county board at their May 28 meeting. The gas company asked for permission to expand their substation in Money Creek Township to accommodate testing equipment.
The third CUP came from Josh Swenson of Sheldon Township, who asked to build a non-farm dwelling on 10 acres of land on Swede Bottom Road. The request received unanimous support.
Finally, May’s zoning permits were approved and can be seen in the chart.
Several other items were reviewed at the June 4 county board meeting.
Human Resources Director Tess Arrick-Kruger requested that the jail’s 67-day, temporary employee roster be filled again. “Our roster is getting really low. I’d like to add probably about five,” she said.
The on-call, 24/7 status of the position makes it difficult to fill, Arrick-Kruger said, adding, “This doesn’t have any additional cost. It’s currently in the budget.”
The board approved the request.
Similar in topic, Arrick-Kruger said she, the finance director and jail administrator have been working together to prepare a comprehensive analysis of jail staffing needs. More information on that will be forthcoming.
In other news
• The annual county auction has been set for Wednesday, Aug. 14 at the Houston County Fairgrounds.
• Commissioner Dana Kjome said a resident called him concerned about stray animals in the county.
“They have a problem with people dropping off dogs and cats. They like animals and they don’t want them shot so they don’t call the sheriff’s office,” he said, asking if there was any policy relating to such a problem.
The county doesn’t have a policy for dealing with stray animals, and Commissioner Teresa Walter said she knows some of the townships have worked out their own deals with various rescue organizations.
• During the public comment portion of the meeting resident Chuck Schulte expressed his thoughts on how to rectify county highway shop problems.
Schulte said the county should build a facility to house large equipment at the existing highway shop site on East Washington Street and then salvage the old structure to accommodate offices and other needs.
No action was taken on his suggestion, though the county board continues to research its options.
Houston County May Zoning Permits
Bruce and Shelley Meyer – Mayville Township, build three-season sun room
Allen Johnson – Black Hammer Township, build decks
Matt Tewes – Caledonia Township, build kitchen and garage addition
John Dahle – Wilmington Township, build pole building
Cory Baker – Yucatan Township, build rec room addition and porch
John Dvorak – Money Creek Township, build two-car garage
Mathy Construction Company – Spring Grove Township, Install temporary asphalt plant (90 days)
Andy Luttchens – Jefferson Township, build family dining and playroom addition
Dean Beneke – Jefferson Township, build house and garage
William and Heather Abrahamzon – Jefferson Township, build barn and shed
Debra Peterson – Union Township, build patio deck
Gary and Karmin Van Domelen – Hokah Township, build deck and screen porch