County denies one driveway request; tables anotherWORTHINGTON — After tabling discussion on the removal of a driveway for a Nobles County landowner at its last meeting, the board of commissioners rejected Thursday a request to have the driveway replaced.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — After tabling discussion on the removal of a driveway for a Nobles County landowner at its last meeting, the board of commissioners rejected Thursday a request to have the driveway replaced.
In July, Mike Kunerth received board approval for two driveways along Nobles County 14 and, a month later, purchased a 2-acre parcel on the southeast corner of CSAH 14 and CSAH 3. That parcel came with a driveway, which Nobles County Public Works removed this fall without providing notification to Kunerth.
During the last board meeting, Kunerth told commissioners he would have rather kept the driveway that was removed instead of one of the two he constructed this year. He also pointed out the board’s resolution pertaining to his driveways was made prior to his new land purchase.
“This is 2011, this isn’t 1971,” Kunerth said on Thursday. “Farming equipment has gotten a lot bigger.”
Nobles County Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder pointed out Kunerth already has four driveways entering his land — two from CSAH 14 and one each from the west and the east. He also said that two driveways are typically permitted per quarter-section.
“Being on Planning and Zoning for 16 years, I think by giving this property owner another driveway gives (him) rights other property owners don’t have,” said Commissioner Bob Demuth Jr. “I see no hardship in getting from point A to point B.”
Concerned other property owners may come in with similar requests if Kunerth was granted the additional driveway, Demuth moved to deny the request. The motion was approved unanimously.
Following the decision regarding Kunerth’s property, commissioners addressed a request from Kunerth’s neighbor, Dan Bohn, who asked to have a second driveway to access his parcel, making it easier to maneuver with his semi tractor-trailer.
Bohn said if his request was granted, he would install the driveway along his grove and remove a cluster of trees growing in the county’s right-of-way.
Schnieder said the “only reasonable thing” to do would be to require the new driveway be placed at the property line between Bohn’s and Kunerth’s parcels and be shared between them. That would also mean removing one of the driveways Kunerth installed this year.
“I don’t see where I should take his driveway,” Bohn said. “It should be separate.”
Schnieder said Bohn’s property provides sufficient space for him to maneuver a semi. Bohn’s response was his semi is 60 feet long, and he has a septic system 50 feet away from the machine shed where the truck is parked.
“I took out a row of trees to just get to the building,” Bohn said, adding the septic system was installed right where the county told him to put it.
Demuth requested to table Bohn’s request to allow for commissioners to visit the Bohn property and assess the situation. The matter will return before the board at its Dec. 20 meeting.
In other action, the board:
* Approved the capital improvement plan of energy-saving options as outlined by Vetter Johnson Architects. Money is set aside in the county’s capital improvement fund to begin addressing the list of projects identified.
* Accepted the 2012 Natural Resources Block Grant, which helps fund the Local Water Management, Wetland Conservation Act, MPCA Subsurface Sewage Treatment System and DNR Shoreland Management base grants; and the MPCA County Feedlot base grant and performance credit. Nobles County’s 2012 allocation for these programs is $130,875, with $85,033 coming from the state, $39,615 in in-kind services from Nobles County and $6,227 in cash from county reserves.
* Approved a rate of $2,100 per mile for providing county snow removal on certain roads in both Wilmont and Lismore. This reflects a $700 per mile increase from the previous contract, and represents higher fuel prices and extreme weather conditions in each of the last two winters.
* Approved numerous contracts for Nobles County Community Services to maintain agreements with agencies including Kids R It and We Care Daycare, the Southwestern Mental Health Center, First Baptist Church, ISD 518, Community Connectors, interpreters, the Nobles County Attorney, Adrian Country Living, Western Community Action and Greater Minnesota Family Services. Guardian contracts were also approved; as well as a request to transfer the 5-year WIC assignment from Nobles-Rock Community Health Services to the new agency.
* Was notified that county assessor Byron Swart will retire effective Jan. 27, 2012, after nearly 30 years of employment with the county. A request to advertise for the position was approved.