Public hearings on two proposed amendments to the Fillmore County zoning ordinance were held at the August 26 Fillmore County Planning Commission Meeting, a report said.
According to the Fillmore County proposal, a campground is defined as any area that can accommodate two or more tents, or recreational camping vehicles, for compensation. This definition does not apply to privately owned camping areas with more than four sites. A campground is defined as five or more sites, with or without compensation.
Cristal Adkins, Zoning Administrator, noted that five sites are considered a campground under state law.
Randy Mensink said that his family owns 100 acres near Whalan, where five campers and their children camp sometimes. The county required that the campers be licensed and had them install a holding tank. He stated that the campers are never seen moving and have cover over their heads. The campers have been on the property for more than 30 years. Mensink was worried that the amendment would impact their family’s camping areas. Adkins stated that these campers were present before the ordinance was passed. Adkins stated that if there were to be another camper, they would need a conditional permit.
The county board will be considering the proposed definition. It was unanimously approved.
Next came a public hearing on an amendment to the Subsurface Sewage Treatment System (SSTS), which will remove an exemption that allowed homeowners to install their own septic tank.
The state rules allow homeowners to get an exemption if they have received a design for the SSTS system from a licensed designer. Adkins explained that this means many trips to inspect the system throughout the installation process. When the system has been installed by licensed installers, only one inspection is necessary from the zoning offices.
In Fillmore County, there are approximately 120 septic systems and holding tanks that are installed each year. Only a few property owners ask for an exemption from this requirement. Few counties allow homeowners to set up their own systems.
The public did not comment. Adkins stated that she couldn’t think of any scenario in which an applicant could show hardship. Installing one’s system yourself is the only reason. The language was amended under section 405 SSTS Practitioner License to eliminate the state exemption that allows homeowners to install their system themselves if they have received a design from an approved designer.
The county board will be examining this amendment.
A proposal amendment regarding limitations on holding tanks was briefly discussed. Adkins stated that she would bring more information to the next Planning Commission meeting in support of this amendment.