The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors in its weekly meeting Tuesday, Feb. 5 handled the formality of a change in zoning during action. A tract of land had its zoning changed to accommodate the construction of the POET/DSM Project Liberty facility on the southeast edge of Emmetsburg on one of several actions taken on zoning requests during the meeting.
Daaron Wilson, Plan Manager for the parent POET Biorefining facility in Emmetsburg was on hand as Palo Alto County Zoning Administrator Joe Neary presented the request to the Supervisors.
"The Planning and Zoning Commission met Monday evening to consider several requests," Neary explained. "The request from POET/DSM for Project Liberty involves a reclassification of 56.75 acres from its former zoning of Ag-Conservation to a classification of Heavy Industrial."
According to Neary, originally, officials of the firm had 88 acres located directly west of the 56 acre tract. reclassified to Heavy Industrial earlier when Project Liberty was first announced, but the final tract was now being requested for reclassification as final siting had been completed.
"The need for the Heavy Industrial zoning is to accommodate the fact that they will be manufacturing denatured alcohol at the facility," Neary said. "Planning and Zoning approved the request to re-zone from Ag-Conservation to Heavy Industrial and recommends that the Supervisors approve the change."
"With the start of vertical construction out there, this is some of the last paperwork needed for the project," noted Wilson, as the supervisors quickly approved the re-zoning on a unanimous vote.
In a second zoning request, Mike Gabor of Buchanan, Bibler, Gabor and Meiss, an attorney representing Jeff Stillman, appeared before the board to request approval of a preliminary plat for Parcel D of K&R Properties Subdivision, an 18.852-acre tract of land located north of the Shores of Five Island Lake Subdivisions on the east side of Five Island Lake. The tract is the remaining parcel of a former dredging silt site owned by K&R Properties that was sold to Secluded Land Development, who platted two subdivisions of lots on the property. Nearly all of the lots in the two plats have been sold.
"We're offering this preliminary plat so that I can continue to farm this piece of ground," Stillman explained to the board.
The preliminary plat was accepted and approved by the board on a unanimous vote.
Neary then presented two conditional use permit applications for consideration by the supervisors.
The first, for Chris and Ben Kollasch Site One, is located in Section 21 of Vernon Township. The facility would consist of two 50' by 401' swine finishing confinement units.
"This site meets the county's Good Neighbor Policy easily," Neary noted. "I also verified the Master Matrix score, which was passed easily. Planning and Zoning voted to recommend this conditional use permit for approval."
Supervisor Jerry Hofstad offered a motion to approve the permit, adding, "Thank you for abiding by the Good Neighbor Policy," to Mike and Ben Kollasch, who were present for the request. The permit was approved on a unanimous vote.
A conditional use permit for a confinement site in Section three of Fern Valley Township for Ed Schmidt was also presented by Neary.
"This site also meets the Good Neighbor Policy," Neary noted. "Planning and Zoning also recommended this site for approval in its meeting Monday night."
Supervisor Ed Noonan moved to grant the conditional use permit, which was unanimously approved by the board.
In a final informational item, Neary noted that the Planning and Zoning Board had discussed the topic of the Good Neighbor Policy, and that after discussions last year with the Supervisors, Planning and Zoning had asked Neary to set up an informational meeting.
"We have tentatively set Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 11 a.m. at the Election Center as the time and place for a meeting on the County's Good Neighbor Policy," Neary explained. "Planning and Zoning agreed we need to invite the various companies who are newcomers since we first established the policy and just explain what we did, why we did it and ask them to abide by it."
The board expressed its support of the meeting and made plans to attend the session with the Planning and Zoning Commissioners.