Commissioners Look Toward Committee to Help With Difficult Issues

Discussions about Planning and Zoning recommendations were one of the main topics at last week’s Dunn County Commissioners meeting, as well as funding for the High Plains Cultural Center. 

By Pam Kukla

For The DC Herald

A conditional use permit for an oilfield waste treatment facility by Horizon- Olson LLC was discussed because two parties had not been informed of the zoning meeting. Sandy Rohde, Planning and Zoning coordinator, had not properly notified two landowners because the location in the certified letter was incorrect. The location in all other legal documents was correct.

Commissioner Daryl Dukart asked for legal advice from state’s attorney Pat Merriman before voting on the recommendation. Merriman stated there wasn’t a legal binding reason to send the conditional use permit back to planning and zoning. “Everyone deserves their day in court,” said Chairman Reinhard Hauck. “We didn’t follow the code but if we expect others to follow the code we need to do the same.” Rohde read a letter from landowner Loren Jepson stating he didn’t object to their lack of being notified. Landowner Shelly Lind said they hadn’t been properly notified and she did object to the location of the facility. Dukart made the motion to pass the conditional use permit and seconded by Donna Scott. Commissioners Dukart, Craig Pelton, and Scott voted to approve the permit with Hauck voting against the motion.

Previously a proposed landfill application by the Green Group had been denied with commissioners stating they had more questions that needed answered. Representatives of the Green Group came before the commissioners to discuss what information they wanted and to address any of their concerns. “We don’t have a live application but want to get a better understanding of what questions you had,” said Shane Goettle, Green Group representative. Dukart asked if there would be any objection to a third party soil analysis. “We have to follow the state guidelines and if the third party follows the same state guidelines there is no objection,” said Goettle. The conditional use permit of Montrail county was discussed. Montrail’s permit has up to 26 conditions and includes input from a citizen’s group. The commissioners decided to create a committee to look into the landfills being proposed. “We need this. We already have three applications,” said Scott. Scott stressed the committee needed to be made up of people from all areas; for, against and neutral on landfills and from different areas of the community. Commissioners were charged to come to the next meeting with one or two names of people interested on serving on the committee.

High Plains Cultural Center board member Terrald Bang appeared before the commissioners. “This is a tough deal. We are struggling financially. We have had some successful events and want to keep our doors open. We are in our infancy and struggling but once people see the value [of the center] the funds will come in,” stated Bang. HPCC board member Don Hedger shared a financial report with the commissioners showing the first five months and projections. The center has approximately $87,000 at the beginning of June, but based on projections will need $181,000 for operations, $100,000 for outstanding construction bills, plus $115,000 for paving the parking lot. Hauck discussed past county donations of 1.4 million and stressed the center’s need for a positive influx of funds to get going. Bang said there is a capital funds campaign going on and are looking at a sales tax mil levy and gaming license.

Commissioners stressed how they didn’t want to see the center closed. Dukart said the center would help make Dunn County a healthy community, but was concerned about putting more money into the center. “If we pour money into the [the center] maybe we should just take over management of it,” said Hauck. Dukart made a motion to deny the HPCC board request for more funds but are interested in starting discussions with the board about taking ownership of the center.

Fil Askerlund of Epic Engineering met with the commissioners and the firm’s competency to complete phase 3 of their project was questioned. “I apologize for the mistakes that were made, but we learned from them. I thought we had a good set of plans but we had flawed data,” said Askerlund. Hauck stressed the need for more communication between Epic and the contractors. Dukart said the plans for phase three must be completed by the middle of September for review.

Becky Buchmann updated the commissioners about the spraying going on in the county. “Spraying has been keeping everyone busy and been hindered by rainy and windy weather,” she said. Buchmann said the new weed board building isn’t always open because of growing and moving pains and spraying schedules. Buchmann also discussed the great response received by sponsorship for the upcoming achievement days. Because of the avian flu outbreak poultry shows had been stopped.

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