Dunn County Commissioners had a full agenda at their March 18 board meeting and it was standing room only as the 60% approval of all property owners within ½ mile of a proposed sanitary landfill and solid waste site amendment was presented to the board.
By Pam Kukla
For the DC Herald
The board meeting was sparsely attended until the time got closer to the agenda item from the planning and zoning board about the 60% approval text amendment proposed by area rancher Curt Kralicek. Previously the amendment had been before the planning and zoning board meeting and was attended by over 150 concerned Dunn County residents. The planning and zoning board recommended the text amendment for the commissioners’ approval at the March 18 meeting.
Again concerned residents filed into the meeting which became standing room only. Chairman Reinhard Hauck invited the residents in and reminded them that this wasn’t a hearing but said the board was open to outside comments. One dispute that received much attention was the legality of the 60% amendment.
Pat Merriman, Dunn County States Attorney, commented that the 60% amendment is unconstitutional based on Supreme Court cases. Merriman added, “There is no doubt in my mind that the 60% amendment won’t be struck down if taken to court.”
Curt Kralicek read a letter from a Bismarck attorney, Derrick Braaten, whose opinion was the amendment was legal. Other residents voiced similar opinions as to the legality of the amendment quoting ND Century Code and other counties with similar amendments.
Resident Rick Regeth brought up the need to more study on allowing landfills in Dunn County. He added other counties have put a moratorium on solid waste sites until more research is done. “These landfills once built won’t go away,” he said.
The decision was made to table the vote on the amendment until both the board and concerned residents could research more on the legalities and public opinion. Hauck added, “We need to look at an ordinance that gives the people more of a voice but is legal.”
The time line for the next vote was discussed. “We aren’t intending to do this in the dark but out in the open,” stated Hauck. It was decided to put in the amendment on the agenda of the April 15 meeting.
The 60% amendment wasn’t the only recommendation from the planning and zoning board discussed by the commissioners. There was also a recommendation made to deny the conditional use permit for an oilfield waste treatment facility located by an area zoned as residential. George Tingo, representative of Horizon-Olson, LLC, stated they had done everything asked of them for approval of the permit and believed it should be granted to them. Kevin Kercher, attorney for the housing developers, questioned the safety of the facility being so close to homes and possible tax revenue generated by 40 to 50 homes compared to that of an oilfield waste treatment facility. The commissioners voted 3 to 2 to deny the conditional use permit for the oilfield waste treatment facility.
Sandy Rohde, Dunn County Planning and Zoning Code Administrator, stated towards the end of the commissioners meeting that Secure, the company proposing proposed sanitary landfill and solid waste site had not sent in a completed application.