City council urged to examine zoning ordinance

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 2/16/00.

John Bradshaw, Eden Valley council member, met with the Paynesville City Council Wednesday night to encourage the council to attend the upcoming public hearings on the county zoning ordinance.

According to Bradshaw, farm feedlots are being built or expanded closer and closer to cities. Eden Valley has four feedlots within a mile of town, he added.

Stearns County has been reorganizing its feedlot and zoning ordinances for about a year. "A feedlot advisory committee was formed consisting of only farmers. There was no input from the cities within the county," Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw added that in July 1998 the Stearns County Municipal League supported a three-mile conditional use requirement area around incorporated cities in the county. The league also supported a tier system, which allowed no more than an increase of 100 animal units on an existing farm located within two miles of a city.

According to Bradshaw, the zoning ordinance currently on the table would allow the construction of any sized feedlot within 1,000 feet of any city. "It says you will have to get a conditional use permit, though no odor control is mandated," he added.

"We need to have people attend the zoning ordinance public hearings to show that the cities are concerned with what happens in the county. It is important to attend the public hearings and talk about the ordinance and how it would affect cities," Bradshaw added.

The county will be taking public testimony from concerned citizens at public hearings. The hearings will be held: Wednesday, Feb. 16: 8 p.m., Rocori High School Auditorium, Cold Spring; and Tuesday, Feb. 22: 1 p.m., First Floor, Administration Center, St. Cloud.

Johnnie Olson, Paynesville Township supervisor, said the people need to be proactive on this issue and not reactive. "There are six to eight townships going before the commissioners. The townships want local government control. We need to get everybody working together. The townships can't be less restrictive than the county," Olson added.

Council member Dennis Zimmerman agreed that the townships and cities need to work together, we are stronger when we work together.

Other business
•The council approved a $3,000 donation to the Fire Relief Association.

•The council declared five computers, some related hardware, and a couple of color monitors as surplus property. The fire department and historical society have expressed an interest in two of the computers.

The council approved a resolution for the transfer of our cable franchise from Triax to Mediacom.

•The council received a correction from the fire department. At a previous meeting, it was stated that the Richmond Fire Department charged for rescue calls. This information was wrong, Richmond does not charge for rescue calls.

•The council approved donations of $500 to the Paynesville After Prom Party; $5,000 to the Paynesville-New London-Spicer Hockey Association; and $10,000 to the Paynesville Historical Society.

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