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Supervisors Discuss Moratorium

By Staff | Aug 17, 2017

Several hearing dates were set by the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors during their regular meeting on Tuesday, August 15 as well as some discussion on a possible moratorium relating to wind development in the county.

Rick Hopper, Drainage Engineer with Jacobson-Westergard of Estherville was on hand for the continuation hearing on Drainage District 57.

“I refigured the cost to include improving DD 48 Lateral 1 to a 36-inch tile,” Hopper began. “We can do this because the Iowa Drainage Code states that a district has the right to improve their outlet even if it is in another district.”

According to Hopper, to run a parallel 36-inch tile along the existing 24-inch tile would add approximately $150 per acre.

Some further discussion by landowners and the Supervisors told Hopper to investigate the grade and if there are any existing blockages that could be taken care of to increase water flow. The hearing was decided that a continuation date be set for December 5 at 10 a.m.

Hopper also filed an annexation report for Drainage District 23. The report recommends that 144.70 acres be annexed into DD 23. The Supervisors unanimously accepted the report; however, no date for a hearing was set at this time.

A telephone conference call with the Supervisors of Pocahontas County was held regarding Joint District 63. A completion hearing date was set for October 3 at 1:30 p.m. at the Election Center in Emmetsburg. This completion hearing deals with 2014 FEMA repairs.

In final drainage matters, a completion hearing date for Drainage District 80 has been set for September 19 at 10:30 a.m. This hearing will be on 2014 FEMA repairs in DD 80 on the Lower Main Open Ditch, the Upper Main Open Ditch and Lateral 8.

A public hearing was set for the transfer of the White Bank Building for August 22 at 8:15 a.m. and a Budget Amendment hearing is set for September 5 at 9 a.m.

A Temporary Moratorium on Processing Further Site Plan and Review on Wind Energy Conversion Systems was discussed further.

“This is something we have talked about and I’ve received comments both ways,” Supervisor Chairman Keith Wirtz said.

“When we originally talked about this I thought we should wait until the site plans came in from Invenergy to see how that process goes,” Supervisor Craig Merrill stated. “I still think we should do that. I’m not a hundred percent either direction on this, but I think that process is going to reveal how the County responds to this.”

“We are just trying to be cautious and make sure that we have done everything we can to do the best for the County and the people,” Wirtz added.

“The reason we are even thinking about a moratorium is to cover unforeseen obstacles that this first project is going to do,” Supervisor Roger Faulstick stated. “Not only are we trying to protect the county, but the actual people who are also signing up, cause they don’t know. That’s why they call it the unknown because nobody knows.”

“I don’t want it to be a deal where the Supervisors are stopping economic development. We are trying to protect everybody from the unknown,” Faulstick continued.

“I don’t think even if we put a moratorium on for six months we are going to learn anything,” Supervisor Ron Graettinger stated.

With some further discussion, the moratorium was tabled at this time.

In final business, Nancy Stegge, Office Manager for the Palo Alto County Engineer presented the Supervisors with an agreement between Palo Alto County, the City of Emmetsburg and Dr. Robert Weiland for use of Weiland Land as access for the residents of Rockport during construction on N40.