A sign of an improving economy is building permits. Palo Alto County Supervisors approved four permits during their weekly meeting on March 26, including a zoning change to allow a new business to locate in the county.
Palo Alto County Zoning Administrator Joe Neary introduced Dennis Rode and Dennis Hanson of Great Lakes Concrete of Spencer, who applied to the Palo Alto County Zoning Commissioners for a re-zoning of a five-acre tract of land just north of Cylinder. The tract, located on the northeast corner of Section 31 of Fairfield Township, is located in an area currently zoned Ag/Conservation.
"Originally, we had proposed re-zoning this tract from Ag/conservation to commercial, but at the Planning and Zoning meeting Monday night, we decided to re-zone to Light Industrial to better fit the proposed use of the land," Neary explained to the board.
Cylinder Fire Chief Dave Pettit spoke during the discussion, pointing out that Cylinder had a problem with flooding a couple of years earlier, due in part to a situation where water overflowing from Cylinder Creek just west of the proposed location flowed east in road ditches and then south in the Highway 18 ditch. "Where this plant is going to be located is kind of in a hole. I'm not opposed to new business and jobs, but the problem is Cylinder Creek, and the DNR is touchy about that."
"That's right," agreed Supervisor Keith Wirtz. "It's what the DNR calls a meandering stream and we can't do much with it."
"Exactly," Pettit agreed.
"I'm kind of wondering if location, location location is the best place for this plant," Supervisor Linus Solberg said.
"This was the question Planning and Zoning asked if building the plant here would add to the water problems in Cylinder," Neary noted.
"What we do as far as building this plant isn't going to make any difference where the water is going to go," Dennis Rode said, explaining that the firm was building two holding ponds for wash out areas for the ready mix trucks, a requirement of the EPA and DNR to protect ground water.
The proposed ready mix plant would represent an investment valued at approximately three-quarters of a million dollars into the county, and would employee around 10 seasonal employees, according to Rode.
"Planning and Zoning did grant approval to the re-zoning and recommended it for your approval, Neary noted. "But they would like an engineer to look at the area and see if there might be some way to address the water concerns."
"Cylinder Creeks sure meanders in that area, doesn't it,"?observed Supervisor Jerry Hofstad.
"That's why we can't touch it,"?Wirtz replied.
"But if it had an obstruction in it, can we address that?" asked Supervisor Ed Noonan.
"You'd need to check with your drainage attorney to be sure, but if that were the case, I?think you probably could if you got the proper permits,"?County Engineer Joel Fantz said.
As the discussion continued, Noonan asked Rode if they would be willing to run a tile in the ditch of 380 Street to help with drainage issues. Rode answered that his firm would do so, if feasible.
On a motion by Noonan that was seconded by Hofstad, the re-zoning was approved on a unanimous 5-0 roll call vote.