60% Amendment Not Dead Yet

Yesterday at the Dunn County Commission, Curt Kralicek, attorney Derrick Braaten and a room full of Dunn County residents packed into the meeting to again plead their case to reinstate the 60% approval text amendment.

By Pam Kukla

For The DC Herald

The vote wasn’t in the groups favor when commissioners Daryl Dukart, Donna Scott and Craig Pelton voted against adding the text amendment back into the planning and zoning code.

Chairman Reinhard Hauck opened the discussion giving each side time to support their view. Dunn County States Attorney Pat Merriman and Bratten discussed the legalities of the text amendment, was it unconstitutional or not. Bratten said, “The county has the power to regulate. This is clearly something that can affect the residents.” He added he didn’t believe there would be any fear of personal liability to the commissioners for approving and supporting the 60% text amendment. “The local governments still have power,” he continued. He concluded by saying, “Attorneys will always differ. Do what the people have asked you to do.”

Merriman stressed that the 60% text amendment’s language “must pass constitutional muster” and as of now it doesn’t. He agreed that landfills are a nuisance and a threat but couldn’t recommend the commissioners to accept the 60% text amendment. “You could be sued and then force fed the application and its location,” he added. “The 60% language isn’t going to fly but it could possibly be recrafted,” concluded Merriman.

Commissioner Bob Kleeman addressed both attorneys and asked for their suggestions, “If we legally can’t do this, what can we do?” Two suggestions were to adopt an ordinance that landfills go to a special election or to rewrite the 60% landowner approval with less ambiguous language.

Dukart addressed the group, “My vote will be against this motion. The 60% could put you in a bind someday.” Scott added there were other steps available, like a special election.

Kralicek said the group is discussing a few different options. “We decided to step away from the topic for a few days. There was a lot of disappoint in the room after the vote,” he said. “One option is to change the wording to make it less ambiguous. It won’t be watered down because it is essential to the landowners and residents of Dunn County. The 60% is far from being dead,” he concluded.

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