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Bale Placement Raises Concerns

By Staff | Oct 11, 2012

With blustery winds blowing of late, thoughts of the upcoming snow season generated a discussion by the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors on an uncommon topic Tuesday. How close to stack cornstalk bales to county roads.

“I had a call from a resident wondering if some of these stacks of cornstalk bales were going to create snow problems on some of our roads,” Board Chair Keith Wirtz explained to County Engineer Joel Fantz and the rest of the board members. “I wasn’t really sure what to tell him.”

“That is a concern on our roads when they’re stacked too close to the right-of-way on the north and west sides,”?Fantz agreed. “I would suggest they be set back at least 150 feet from the right-of-way, and then they would act as a positive, stopping the snow before it drifted.”

Fantz continued, “we talked about this last year, but it never really came into play with the winter we had last year.”

“Is this something that maybe should come through zoning?”?asked Supervisor Ron Graettinger.

“I would also think there would be a fire concern if you had them stacked next to buildings, too,”?Wirtz added, noting the phone call he had received specifically mentioned bales being stacked next to propane tanks adjacent to a confinement building.

“I think its great that you’ve gotten calls from farmers asking about a distance,”?Fantz said. “The fire concern, I?can understand that too. But, for snow removal purposes, the 150 foot distance would work the best, in my opinion.”

Supervisor Ed Noonan suggested notifying custom baling operators of the idea to see if they would voluntarily comply with such a request. “It’s not really the farmers doing this in most cases, its the people who do the baling.”?

“We can’t forget stacks on the south sides of roads, either,”?Wirtz noted. “The wind does blow out of the south on occasion.”

After a few more minutes, the board agreed to contact custom baling operators in the area to visit with them about the idea.

In other road-related items, Father Thomas Hart of Mallard appeared before the board to thank the Supervisors for the recently completed reconstruction of a portion of county road B63 east of Mallard.

“I just wanted to stop in and thank you for the new road,”?Father Hart said.?”A lot of times you don’t get the thanks of the people for the good work that you do, so I’m here to thank you publically. That road is a huge, huge improvement and there has been a lot of positive feedback.”

The board expressed its thanks to Father Hart for the kind words.

In other business, Fantz presented the board with a resolution to study regarding the addition and removal of some stop signs northeast of Emmetsburg, along the 480 Avenue corridor, or North Bypass project, which is scheduled for paving in 2013.

“The North bypass will fundamentally change the traffic flow northeast of Emmetsburg,”?Fantz explained. “We’ve studied the intersections out in the area and have prepared a map for you to study.

The proposal identified 19 signs to be added or removed.

“Change like this is always controversial, but we need to do this,”?Fantz said.

The board will act on the resolution next week.