April 13, 2016

Building permit concerns challenge commissioners

By Annette Tait
Has a building and/or conditional use permit been issued? Is the permit correct, and is the building being constructed accordingly?
The first question was raised at the April Oliver County Commission meeting; the latter during the April and May 2015 meetings. Both cases were cause for spirited discussion between commissioners, Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Dan Bueligan, Land Use Administrator John Wicklund, and County Attorney John Mahoney.
At issue last spring was an incorrect location on initial building and conditional use permits, combined with miscommunication between the landowner and the county. The landowner began building prior to issuance of an amended permit, prompting the commissioners, Bueligan, and Wicklund to discuss implementing fines as an incentive for landowners to obtain required permits prior to construction. Inconsistencies in the application and permitting process also led to examination of internal procedures and how to ensure the process would move forward smoothly in the future.
The approach was more tempered during last week’s meeting, when commissioners learned of two new buildings – one completed, the other under construction – whose owners had not applied for building permits.
Bueligan noted that, in an agricultural community such as Oliver County, it’s common for land to pass down from parents who farmed to their children. The children may no longer farm the land or, if they do, may not qualify as farm owners for building permit purposes.

 


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