Minutes February 26, 2018

WABASHA COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

February 26, 2018



Minutes

1. Jeanne Pietig called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  Other members present were Ken Jacob, Jon Beckman, John Lubinski, Gayle Gillespie, and Rich Hall.

2. Motion by Gillespie/Jacob to approve the agenda as presented.  Motion carried.

3. Motion by Gillespie/Beckman to approve the minutes for the December 18, 2017 meeting.  Motion carried.

4. Motion by Pietig/Gillespie to open the public hearing for the Conditional Use Permit application submitted by Wabasha Solar II, LLC for the operation of a one megawatt community solar garden on parcel 05.00023.00 located in Section 3, Township 110 North, Range 10 West, Town of Greenfield.  Motion carried.

5. Motion by Pietig/Jacob to close the public hearing.

6. Motion by Jacob/Pietig to table the Wabasha II CUP until the next meeting.  Motion carried.

7. Motion by Pietig/Beckman to open the public hearing for the Conditional Use Permit application submitted by Wabasha Solar III, LLC for the operation of a one megawatt community solar garden on parcel 05.00286.00 located in Section 27, Township 110 North, Range 10 West, Town of Greenfield.  Motion carried.

8. Motion by Pietig/Beckman to close the public hearing.

9. Motion by Gillespie/Jacob to forward the Wabasha Solar III CUP request to the County Board for consideration with a recommendation that the request be approved with eleven conditions. Motion carried.  The eleven conditions are as follows:

• The project shall be undertaken only in accordance with the plans and specifications as submitted in the application or as outlined in these conditions.

• The County may enter onto the premises at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner to ensure the permit holder is in compliance with the conditions and all other applicable ordinances.

• A wetland delineation shall be submitted to and approved by the Wabasha WCA Technical Advisory Panel prior to the start of any construction activity.  No solar panel or utility line shall be located in any area mapped as a wetland.

• The applicant shall post a bond or issue an irrevocable letter of credit in the amount of $25,000 per megawatt to cover the costs of decommissioning and site restoration upon project termination.  Upon expiration/revocation of this permit or voluntary termination of the project, the permittee shall dismantle and remove from the site all solar panels, mounted steel posts and beams, inverters, transformers, overhead and underground cables, buildings and foundations, and roads. 

• Except for designated roadways, the project area shall be re-vegetated as a low-growing, pollinator friendly native prairie.  The vegetation in the project area shall be maintained to promote the pollinator friendly native prairie and to limit any noxious weeds or other undesirable plants such as any cool season grasses.  A seed mix and maintenance plan for the native vegetation shall be approved by the Zoning Administrator prior to the start of any construction.  

• Construction shall be limited to daytime working hours.

• Existing natural screening shall be maintained on the property so as to provide a visual screen to any home located within 1,000 feet of the project.  

• Testing for stray voltage that adheres to the IEEE Standard shall be conducted by a third-party consultant prior to the start of construction, three months after connection to the electrical grid, and completed annually for three years after connection to the electrical grid.  After that point, it shall be completed once every five years.  The results from such testing shall be submitted to the Wabasha County Zoning Department within 30 days of testing.  The costs for such testing shall be paid for by the developer.  If any problem with stray voltage is discovered on any feedlot within a two mile radius of the development, the solar garden shall cease operation until the stray voltage issue has been resolved.

• The solar modules shall be limited to a single axis tracking system.

• Dust will be managed during the construction phase of the project.

• The developer shall enter into a road agreement with Greenfield Township to ensure restoration of 630th Street in the event the road is damaged during construction of the solar garden.

10. Motion by Pietig/Jacob to open the public hearing for the Conditional Use Permit application submitted by Mark Jensen for the expansion of a campground on parcels 06.0056.06, 06.00050.03, 06.003289.00, 06.006.03, and 06.00075.03  located in Sections 5, 6, & 7, Township 109 North, Range 11 West, Town of Highland.  Motion carried.

11. Motion by Pietig/Beckman to close the public hearing.  Motion carried.

12. Motion by Pietig/Gillespie to forward the Jensen CUP request to the County Board for consideration with a recommendation that the request be denied based upon six findings of fact.  Motion carried.  The six findings are as follows:

• The CUP has the potential to impede normal and orderly development since a study was not conducted to determine if the fill for the roads placed in the floodway would cause any increase in the stage of the regional flood elevation as per Article 14, Section 5, Subd. 5 of the Wabasha County Zoning Ordinance.

• MN Rules Chapter 4630.0200 requires that no portion of a campground shall be located in an area subject to flooding. 

• West Indian Creek is a designated trout stream.  Significant stream restoration and habitat enhancement activities have been completed by The Hiawatha Chapter of Trout Unlimited since 2011 within the 132’ Aquatic Management Area Easement.  The applicant has not provided documentation that would show how soil erosion and other possible pollution of public waters would be prevented both during and after construction as required by Chapter 13.12 of the Wabasha County Zoning Ordinance.

• The expansion being located in a floodway poses a greater risk to the health and safety of the public than a campground located outside of a floodway.  The emergency evacuation plan is insufficient to protect the public from any such risks associated with flooding.  There is nothing mentioned as to how the public would be notified when a flood is eminent.  Also, there will be limited time and resources to remove man-made items from the floodway in the event of a flood so as to prevent any obstruction to flow.

• The Minnesota DNR provided a letter that also recommends the CUP should be denied based upon various factors.

•  The expansion if approved would be a potential liability to Wabasha County in the event that there would be a loss of life or property due to flooding.   

13. Motion by Jacob/Beckman to approve the proposed ordinance revisions as presented and to schedule a public hearing for the matter for the March 26th meeting. Motion carried.

14. Motion by Jacob/Pietig to adjourn the meeting at 10:20 p.m.  Motion carried.

Agenda for this meeting 


Agenda for this meeting

 

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