Houston County refuses to enforce its own mining ordinance

To the Editor:

It is the policy of Houston County not to enforce its ordinance until a complaint is filed. When a complaint is filed there is still no enforcement. When asked why, the only answer we get is that the ordinance has never been enforced. Weird circular illogic, I know.

The zoning administrator is the primary enforcement officer. Any one of the Commissioners can also initiate enforcement. None of them is up to the task based on their past actions. One of the commissioners even says an ordinance is not a law.

The ordinance exists for a reason. When it is violated other people’s rights are violated. Failure of enforcement is a refusal to protect the rights of others.

It is unclear if the problem is a lack of courage or a lack of character. Maybe it doesn’t matter because either means they are not adequate to fulfill their responsibilities to the public. If they won’t do their jobs they need to be replaced.

The ordinance is 50 years old. For five years specific clear complaints of violations on a particular mine have been issued repeatedly with evidence. There has also been two District Court rulings of violations and admissions of violations by the commissioners and the zoning office and yet nothing happens. They say they need more time to work toward compliance in baby steps. Really? What then is the timeline to expect results? If you want to hear excuses and twisted logic to justify inaction, file a zoning complaint in Houston County. A saint would get angry with these people.

Bryan Van Gorp,

Rushford Minn.