The Grant County commissioners met Tuesday, March 7. They approved the first reading of Ordinance 2016-1B following a joint public hearing with the Planning... First Reading of Agribusiness Ordinance Approved

The Grant County commissioners met Tuesday, March 7. They approved the first reading of Ordinance 2016-1B following a joint public hearing with the Planning and Zoning Board. The ordinance, amending Grant County Ordinance #2004-1, would define agribusiness activities as the use of land for commercial purposes related to raising, growing, processing, or storage of farm products. This includes: custom fertilizer/herbicide application, custom planting, custom harvesting, grain storage, and processing of agriculturally-related raw products raised, grown, or purchased by the landowner or operator. The ordinance outlines the definition of agribusiness activities and the intent, requirements, and applications that apply. After the commissioners gave their approval, the second reading and adoption of the ordinance was set for Tuesday, March 21, at 8:30 a.m. in the Grant County Courthouse commissioners board room.

According to Krista Atyeo-Gortmaker, Grant County Planning and Zoning Officer, the ordinance allows agribusiness activity in the agricultural district in areas not zoned commercial. “There are still setbacks and regulations that need to be followed for those requesting a conditional use permit for these types of agribusiness activities,” she said. “The P&Z board will still regulate and need to make approval on those permits before an agribusiness is allowed. It’s just that at the present time, there is currently not space available within the county for anything smaller than a grain elevator or larger than a home-extended occupation.” During the discussion, Atyeo-Gortmaker stressed, “The types of agribusinesses this pertains to is custom services provided to other customers, not farmers using these services for themselves.”
The commissioners also approved the appointment of Don Weber as an alternate on the Grant County Planning and Zoning Board. He replaces Val Cameron.

In other business, the commissioners approved the adoption of a mailbox damage policy. “This is not an ordinance, but an in-house policy,” explained Grant County Auditor Karen Layher. The policy states the Grant County Highway Department is responsible for clearing as much snow and ice as possible from the county and secondary roads in the county. “This means we will plow as close to the shoulder as possible,” stated Highway Superintendent Kerwin Schultz. “The Highway Department takes great care not to damage any property within the county right-of-way, however, mailboxes occasionally get damaged.”
Grant County will reimburse owners for damaged standard mailboxes and/or support posts with the following criteria: 1. It is determined that the county plow operators damaged the mailbox. 2. The mailbox had been properly installed per USPS installation guidelines as listed and maintained prior to the damage occurring. 3. Claims must be reported within 7 days after the incident occurred. When the criteria are met, Grant County will reimburse a maximum amount of $25. A copy of the receipt is required.

The board members also reviewed proposed Ordinance 2017-01 which will replace the existing ordinance providing for the removal of obstructions from Grant County highway right-of-ways and prohibiting the placement of snow from private driveways onto Grant County highway right-of-ways. The first reading, along with a public hearing, is scheduled for Tuesday, April 4, at 8:30 a.m. in the courthouse board room.
Other dates were also set. The board set Tuesday, April 4, as the annual highway bid letting, with bid opening on Thursday, March 30, at 1 p.m. Sealed bids for the Caterpillar motor grader that was declared surplus will be opened Tuesday, March 21, at 8:15 a.m.

The next regular meeting of the Grant County Commissioners is Tuesday, March 21, at 8 a.m.

Staff Writer

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