BLUE EARTH - Faribault County Commissioners approved an adult use ordinance this week.
A public hearing June 25 on the adult use ordinance went smoothly, said Michele Stindtman, director of Faribault County Soil & Water. She presented the ordinance on Tuesday to commissioners with minor changes to include the definition of "dwelling" and other minor verbage. One thing that did not change was that adult use businesses must be 1,000 feet from schools, churches and other specific locations. It was suggested to change it to 2,000 feet.
"If we went to 2,000 feet, we'd get sued," said J.R. Hanson, chairman of the planning commission, because it would basically ban any adult business in the county.
Commissioner Tom Warmka said he's been contacted by constituents because a couple of the places where an adult business could still be located are in his district. Most are agitated about the possibility of having an adult business nearby, but Warmka said he explained the legal aspects of the ordinance: "Protect our citizens as best we can," he said.
In other business, the board revisited the topic of merging the planning commission with the board of adjustments - also called the variance board. The board of adjustments has lost a few members, so something needs to be done, Stindtman said.
Stindtman and the commissioners discussed how the merger would work, including whether it was best to have seven or 10 people on the new board, and who would have what office through the end of the year, when terms would expire.
Troy Timmerman, county attorney, checked to see how many, if any, elected officials could serve on the merged board.
"Board of adjustments (members) cannot be elected," Stindtman pointed out.
"I don't see how the planning and zoning board can be objective with the variance board," Warmka said. "The person (bringing the request) is in front of the same people who denied them the first time."
"The variance committee would not have a vote," Hanson insisted. "They would only be there to be educated."
More discussion included the various ways the merged board would work, but no conclusion was reached.
"I think this project needs a little more research," Warmka said.
"You need to appoint someone to the board of adjustments or move on," Stindtman said.
The topic was tabled until the next meeting.
The board also heard from Miranda Rosa, who took over for the retired Bev Snow at Drug Court and Family Dependency Court. Rosa requested the commissioners approve the usual donation of $5,000, which historically has been used for non-salaried expenses. Rosa said she wanted to use $2,000 to help pay a $6,000 salary for a part-time assistant, who will be hired.
Commissioner Bill Groskreutz moved the board approve the $5,000, "to be used at the discretion of the system."
He pointed out there were no additional dollars requested.
"If you want the program to work, you have to work with the program," he said.
Rosa said an evaluation of the effectiveness of the program has been started and will be finished in the fall.
The board approved giving the program $5,000.
The board also approved:
o Hiring Ulland Brothers out of Albert Lea to lay down a mile of bituminous on County Road 19 by Easton.
The company submitted the low bid of $82,680. The budget for the work was set at $70,000. The county does a mile each year.
"Seems high; 18 percent over the budget approved," Groskreutz said.
"Disappointed in that," Warmka added.
County engineer John McDonald said he thought the budget would stretch to cover it.
o Advertising for bids to crush aggregate for the county-owned Baker pit. Bids are due the first week of August.
o Advertising for a part-time transit driver.
o Setting 10 a.m. Aug. 16 for opening bids on County Ditch 26 Branch A.
o Entering into an agreement with the State Department of Corrections to be reimbursed for 20 hours of secretarial services.
o Signing a memorandum of agreement between the University of Minnesota to provide Extension programs locally and employ Extension staff. It is a three-year contract, with a 90-day notice required for changes to the contract.