Letters Give input to zoning board
I am writing to encourage the citizens of Clay County to attend an important meeting of the County Planning and Zoning Board at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 9 in the courthouse basement.
The Planning and Zoning Board has prepared a draft revision of the Clay County Zoning Regulations for large-scale animal confinements. I applaud the board for recognizing that current zoning laws are inadequate to protect the county's water and the public health from threats posed by large animal confinements.
The proposed zoning regulations represent some improvement over zoning rules now in place. The board recognizes the need to establish minimum setbacks from wells, homes, churches, schools, etc., and the need to protect our shallow aquifer and other water sources from contamination.
However, I believe the draft can be further improved with citizen involvement. Please allow me to cite three examples:
1) According to the draft now available to the public, manure can be surface or irrigation-applied a mere 50 feet from rivers and streams.
2) The proposed ordinance specifies no minimum distance between a confinement with thousands of hogs and a town.
3) The proposed ordinance gives the county commissioners the power to overrule decisions of the planning and zoning board, even decisions made in strict compliance with the proposed regulations. This provision alone could ultimately render the zoning regulations meaningless.
These are a few of my concerns with the regulations as proposed. I urge all citizens interested in protecting our water and air from contamination to pick up a copy of the draft proposal from the planning and zoning office, read it carefully, and come to the Aug. 9 meeting with your questions and suggestions. Remember, democracy works only when citizens assume the responsibility of participation.
Neat building site draws praise
I think builder Jack Kastengren should be given a deserving "pat on the back" for keeping one of the neatest, most picked-up building sites that has ever graced Vermillion's streets. The site I'm speaking of is his current project on West Main Street where he is constructing an apartment building.
Bill Willroth Sr.