County hears from Planning and Zoning

Several vacancies will need to be filled soon on the Planning and Zoning Committee, according to Director Sharon Omstead during Monday’s Marion County Board of Commissioners meeting. Omstead gave her monthly report update and let the commissioners know that she has three vacancies on the Planning and Zoning Committee.

“I know that it is getting harder and harder to find volunteers for this so, for your convenience, I’ve included with your contact list an application for you to give to someone,” said Omstead.

The last meeting for the year is Dec. 2.

A term is three years with the ability to be appointed for three terms of three years.

Commissioner David Mueller asked how the process works, since he has not been through it yet.

Omstead explained that, for example, District 2 has an open spot through the end of 2022, so that commissioner needs to bring their name of who they want for that position. For each district that has a spot, the commissioner brings their candidate name to the meeting and appoints them. But for the position at large, the commissioners will all vote.

Omstead also explained that the committee came up with suggested amendments to the Marion County Zoning Regulations to address how the county regulates shipping containers as an accessory storage through zoning.

She said that, currently, the zoning regulations prohibit the placement of a shipping container as an accessory structure within all but the agricultural district and the rural residential district. On Oct. 28, the Marion County Planning Commission held a public hearing on the matter and made the following recommendations:

n Changes to Article 13-102: In the Rural Residential District and Suburban Residential District where a structure is constructed or intended for use as a shipping container, whether originally as a transportation vehicle or as a separate structure, only one such structure shall be used as an accessory building. Said structures are prohibited in the Single-Family Residential District and the Village District, unless approved as a Special Exception under Article 21-104 of these regulations. Said structures are prohibited in the Marion Reservoir Eastshore Subdivision Residential District and the Marion County Lake Lot Residential District. Such structures may be placed in any number in the Agricultural Districts.

n Changes to Article 19-111: No structure constructed or intended for use as a shipping container, whether as originally as a transportation vehicle or as a separate structure, shall be used as a storage container on property zoned Marion Reservoir Eastshore Subdivision Residential District or Marion County Lake Lot Residential District. Said structures are prohibited on property zoned Single-Family Residential District and Village District unless approved as a Special Exception. All other such placements where allowed shall be in conformance with the restrictions within these regulations.

n Changes to Article 21-104: Placing a shipping container, whether as originally as a transportation vehicle or as a separate structure, as an accessory storage building on property zoned Single Family Residential District or Village District. Permitting such use of a shipping container shall be in conformance with all other restrictions within these regulations and subject to additional conditions, if any, as permitted.

The board voted 4-1 to approve the changes. Commissioner Randy Dallke voted against it.

County Counselor Brad Jantz brought up the discussion of the Land Bank. The board decided they wanted to maintain the ability to evaluate each case and not be obligated to take every property offered to the county, especially if there are environmental issues with a property.

They will meet as a committee on the first Monday of every quarter. They will meet in December in order to get organized and then have the first official Land Bank meeting in January. Information regarding the Land Bank will be on the county website, Facebook and in the newspaper.

Jantz also presented a policy on public comments, based on the conversation from last week’s meeting.

The policy states that people will need to sign up ahead of time with a topic and basic description both for in-person and online public comments so that board members can know who the person is and what the topic is. The person’s name and address will be needed so that it can be verified that they live in the county. That information may also be included in the minutes.

The board decided on three minutes per item and no limit on items as long as the items are relevant.

A person can be removed from the meeting and fined as little as $5 and as much as $100 per offense.

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