Brown County Browser: A lot going on in County P&Z

The Brown County Planning and Zoning Office includes a multitude of areas. One of these is Land Use Permits, commonly referred to as building permits. Please come in to our office early in your building planning process if you are thinking of building a structure out in the rural areas of Brown County. This way we will be able to check out any potential areas of concern prior to your building so you are less likely of being delayed.

You will need to follow the setbacks listed for your Zoning District in the Brown County Zoning Ordinance. Each zoning district has different setbacks so please check prior to applying for a permit or have our office determine them. We can also determine if your proposed project needs to go through the conditional use permit. The Conditional Use Permit is for more intensive uses that are regulated by conditions.

Remember if you are selling a property you need to bring a copy of the Compliance Inspection to the closing. Whatever arrangements you make regarding updating the system is up to you as to which party will pay for an upgrade to the system. Please note: anytime a system drains to the surface of the ground or connects to a tile line, the system is not in compliance with MN Rules Chapter 7080. It must be upgraded within ten months of the date of the inspection. The system must also meet a separation distance from the seasonal high groundwater of two feet.

We do have low interest loans available for upgrading your existing septic system. The application is a couple of pages and you pay the loan back on your taxes. Interest on the loan is 3.5% with a term of five years and you can pay it off early if you would like. An abandonment form is required to be filled out by a licensed professional if you need to properly abandon a system.

If you have been to the Brown County Landfill this fall, you will see that we have been busy digging the next landfill cell area. We will construct a liner and drainage system when soil conditions are suitable next year. We hope to eventually recirculate the leachate in the future (leachate is the water that percolates through the garbage from rain or snow). Recirculating this water will speed the decomposition of the solid waste and stabilizing the landfill. Doing this does create landfill gas that will have to be collected and flared off. Other large landfills that currently do this find that they collect the landfill gas and use it to power generators to produce power or heat their buildings. Our landfill is too small and we won’t produce enough gas to do a viable project.

New in the Recycling area is that Riverview Sanitation is now accepting plastics numbers 3, 4, 5, and 7. Riverview has always accepted #1, and 2 plastics. Riverview still accepts all of the other items as before, aluminum, metal food cans, foil, clean mixed paper and cardboard. It will also take shredded paper in plastic bags and clear and brown glass.

Not accepted is Styrofoam; plastic grocery bags; other plastics like film wrap. Clam shell food containers, bakery containers, waxy covered cardboard, dishware, ceramics, green glass or canning jars are also not accepted by the household recycling program. All of this things should just go in the regular trash. Please see our website for more information. In other news Riverview Sanitation recently purchased Braun and Borth Sanitation of Sleepy Eye.

We were also busy finishing up our Hazard Mitigation buy-out program where we purchased and removed five homes that were in danger of repeated flooding, landslide or both. The project started in 2015 and now is complete using Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) funds. The funds were used to purchase the site; remove hazardous waste concerns from the home and outbuildings; seal all wells and remove all structures from the site. This program reduces the potential for loss of life or damage to property in the future. Every dollar spent on this project has a saving of three dollars at a minimum.

The Wellner Hageman Dam in Stately Township was also repaired this fall. A gate and valve were worked on and made functional again. Work started later than expected due to additional work done on other projects by the contractor. Divers worked under water when the reservoir started to freeze up. The construction company had to break ice to get the tender boat into the water on the first day of work. Luckily for the divers, warm water is pumped into their wetsuits to keep them warm.

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