May 13, 2015

Commission addresses building permit process

By Annette Tait
Frustration was evident in all involved parties when Oliver County commissioners, Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Dan Beuligan, Land Administrator John Wicklund, and landowner Dale Hilton and his legal counsel met during the commission’s May 7 meeting. A series of anomalies during the permitting process led to Hilton’s request to be added to the meeting agenda.
The initial permit application for a residence to be built on Hilton’s property contained an error in the location description. Additional actions and activities by Hilton and the county, along with miscommunication among the various parties, led to Hilton’s appearance before the county commission.
After all involved in the situation reviewed the process to date and discussed what further steps were needed, the issue was resolved with the commissioners’ voting to approve the needed permits for Hilton. However, the circumstances surrounding Hilton’s permit application process and the various related misunderstandings also led to discussion between the commissioners, Beuligan, and Wicklund to determine how to ensure the permitting process moves forward smoothly in the future.
Prior to any construction activities, a building permit is required for building or remodeling residences and any other non-farm buildings in the county, including in Center and Hannover. Landowners are required to complete a building permit application and submit the application to the land use administrator.
Non-farm residences and other non-farm buildings constructed on agricultural land require a conditional use permit as well as a building permit. Conditional use applications are then published in the official county newspaper to allow for public comment, which may be made in person during the planning and zoning meeting or submitted in writing via email, fax, or standard mail.
“What we’re doing with a conditional use permit is we’re changing [zoning] from agriculture to something else,” Beuligan said. “It gives the public the opportunity to present opinions and that’s what our decisions are made on.”

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