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Planning Commission to shrink from 11 to 7 members, pending approval

In addition, a minimum of three members will “have a vested interest in” the unincorporated areas of the county.

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WORTHINGTON — In an effort to ease the difficulty of finding volunteers to serve on the Nobles County Planning Commission and the Nobles County Board of Adjustment, the planning commission agreed Wednesday night to rule changes that include a reduction in its size.

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The changes must still be approved by the Nobles County Board of Commissioners, which next meets at 3 p.m. Thursday.

“What we’re proposing is allowing all members on the Board of Adjustment to also serve on the Planning Commission,” said Kathy Henderschiedt, the county's planning and zoning administrator.

Statutorily, at least one member of the Board of Adjustment must be on the Planning Commission, a requirement which did not change.

The Planning Commission agreed to reduce its numbers from the current 11 to seven. Previously, two of the 11 had been appointed from each Nobles County commissioner district and the final member was a county commissioner. Once the changes are approved, one person will be appointed from each Nobles County commissioner district, plus one appointed at-large and one county commissioner.

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In addition, a minimum of three members will “have a vested interest in” the unincorporated areas of the county, a change from the previous language of “a minimum of five members shall be representatives from the unincorporated areas of the county.”

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Planning Commission members noted that farmers who move to town when they retire still have the knowledge and experience to serve on the Planning Commission, and that people could, for example, own hogs and have a vested interest without owning any land. However, members also wanted to ensure that people on the Planning Commission continue to represent the people they make decisions for, most of whom are rural, said John Penning.

The language changes also necessitated another alteration for the Planning Commission, so that “the terms of the members shall be staggered so that no more than two terms expire in any one year,” rather than the previous text with the same language regarding four terms.

County Attorney Joe Sanow attended the meeting to ensure all of the changes were consistent with statutory requirements.

A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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