The Houston County Board of Adjustment (BOA) and Planning Commission boards met on May 24.
BOA members unanimously approved a variance of 10 ft. for Josh and Jonah Ross of Hokah Township to meet a required 50-foot building setback from the east property line of a two-acre lot.
Zoning administrator Bob Scanlan said the variance was needed in order to build a pole shed.
Scanlan said that neighboring property owners and the township were informed of the variance application, and nobody had called in to challenge the measure.
Preliminary plat approved
Following the BOA, the Planning Commission held a hearing to review a preliminary plat for Josh Ross, who holds an enforceable option to buy the former Jehovah's Witness Hall in section 12 of Union Township.
Commissioners first looked at the site in March when they recommended approval of an application to rezone the 2-1/2 acre tract from agricultural to residential as a one-lot subdivision.
The county board approved the re-zone on April 3.
Scanlan reported that after review, the only change made to the preliminary plat was an adjustment to the right of way as recommended by MnDOT.
The lot lies west of Hokah along State Hwy. 44.
"There's six or seven offices I sent it to, and nobody commented on it," Scanlan said.
The county surveyor will not review the document until the final plat comes through.
After review of the findings (statutes), the commissioners recommended approval to the County Board of Commissioners for their June 5 meeting.
Potential subdivision reviewed
Scanlan brought a potential two-lot subdivision to commissioners for discussion.
Property owner Brad Jilek of rural Caledonia asked members for an opinion prior to filing an application, Scanlan said.
The only issue with the building site is that Jilek was proposing a shared driveway for two homes without meeting the construction requirements for such an access.
Scanlan said that the ordinance for subdivision streets, even if for just two lots, requires pavement complete with curbs.
Commissioners agreed with that assessment.
"He's just going to have to come up with a way to work with MnDOT on getting an additional driveway in," Scanlan concluded.
Frac sand mine expanding
Scanlan reported that sand mining companies are showing interest in existing quarries in Houston County.
Although new permits are under a temporary moratorium, some existing sand pits are already exporting frac sand, Scanlan told board members.
In the northwestern corner of the county, locally owned and operated Thorson Quarry has submitted an operation and reclamation plan with regards to a conditional use permit originally granted in 1992, Scanlan reported.
He said that the document, which will not need to be reviewed by the planning commission or the county board, outlines the removal of two million yards of frac sand for shipment to Winona with no on-site processing.
"That quarry will tell us a lot," Scanlan said following the meeting. "We'll learn how much they can move in a day or a month. It should give us a handle on how these operations will work."
The quarry will ship the material through Rushford so it will only utilize a mile or two of roads in Houston County. Most of the route will be on state highways, Scanlan noted.
Other issues before the board
In other business, planning board commissioners appointed Dan Griffin to the post of vice chairman, a position that was overlooked at their January meeting.
Commissioners approved 11 zoning permits. They included two new homes with garages, a separate garage, two decks and sheds, a work studio and three agricultural buildings including a calf barn and two grain bins.