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Planning board approves zoning amendment

Staff writer

The county planning and zoning board last Thursday voted to recommend an amendment to zoning regulations after lengthy debate over whether the wording of two different sections of zoning policy are in conflict.

Russ Ewy, the county’s consultant for planning and zoning matters, recommended to board members that a portion of text containing the words “electric transmission lines” be struck from Article 19-105. Ewy said striking the words would make the rules consistent instead of having one section that specifies the county regulates transmission lines and another that says the county does not.

Removing “electric transmission lines” as requiring a conditional use permit would mean county regulations would also align with others in the state, which do not regulate transmission lines, Ewy said.

“The language is intended to true-up the regulations,” planning and zoning director Sharon Omstead said.

County commissioners in April adopted a resolution consenting to the use of county road rights-of-way for transmission lines within the boundaries of a conditional use permit application area.

“This amendment would eliminate the need for such action in the future, but would still require the requisite authorizations or permits to use such property,” Omstead said.

Brad Vannocker said he saw the discrepancy in the articles as a problem that needed to be fixed.

William Kroupa said the amendment would open up all county roads to high-engine power lines.

“I just think we need to make them say the same thing,” Kathy Inlow said.

“We’ve had errors, we’ve made errors, we’ve corrected errors,” Dwight Flaming said.

Duane Bair moved to table the matter for a later meeting, but the board did not agree.

Vannocker moved to recommend the amendment.

The recommendation to amend passed on a split vote, with Kroupa, Bair, and Vannocker opposed, and Inlow, Derek Belton, Jim Schmidt, Glenn Thiessen, and Mel Flaming in favor.

“I think it needs to be fixed, but I wasn’t sure we were going about it in the right way,” Vannocker later said of his vote.

The board’s recommendation will be sent to county commissioners for final action.

At Monday’s county commission meeting, Bair resigned from the planning and zoning board.

“I find that my knowledge, skill, and experience is not required on the planning and zoning board of Marion County,” Bair said.

Last modified Oct. 31, 2019

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