March 25, 2015

County zoning reviews non-farm acreage, solid waste disposal

By Chris Erickson

The Mercer County Planning and Zoning Commission last week held some detailed initial discussion on two topics that were on commissioners’ minds.
After concluding regular business on two conditional use applications for non-farm residences, the zoning commissioners spoke about potentially limiting acreage size for future non-farm residences, and on what to do about nuclear waste.
The former has been in the background for quite some time, with conditional use applications for non-farm residences becoming standard agenda items for the zoning commission. The latter had entered onto the agenda only recently after the commission’s counterparts in Dunn County had heard massive opposition to a proposed solid waste landfill there that would allow for the disposal of filter socks, a radioactive byproduct of fracking.
The filter socks are currently required to be disposed of at out-of-state landfills that allow for radioactive waste. Heavy fines of up to $5,000 have been imposed for truckers illegally dumping the socks at landfills that aren’t equipped to properly dispose of them.
First on the agenda was the two-acre limit proposed to non-farm residences. If put in place, the limit would deal largely with subdivisions.
Land Use Administrator/Tax Director Gary Emter said there likely wouldn’t ever be someone who approached the zoning commission with a non-farm request that was less than five acres unless they were a part of a rural subdivision.
“That’s why they’re moving out to the country,” he said. “They’re going to want five acres, they’ll want four acres, they’ll want 10 acres. They’re not going to want anything less than two acres. Developers do it because they want to get as much money out of their land as they can, so they’ll get as many lots as possible.”
Emter added that, if that was the case and a central well or septic system was put in place, then the two-acre limit would be probably be fine as it was stated in the current subdivision clause.

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