Application for building eligibility transfer denied

Dawn Rye | Writer

During last week’s Turner County planning and zoning board meeting, a motion was made to deny the transfer for building eligibility for Michael Stevens in Turner Township.

Board member Mick Miller asked if this application was different than the prior two?

Michael Stevens said during the first application process it was different ownerships. However, the current application is under the same ownership. 

Miller said at one time Chris Peterson presented an application for building eligibility for a piece of property sold pending on the approval. So, how can he sell the property that was not his he asked? 

Board member Bruce Haase commented the first application that Peterson presented to the board was not in Stevens’ name.

State’s Attorney Katelynn Hoffman explained Peterson’s application was denied for the initial conditional use permit. However, during an appeal, the board stipulated to have the information be heard again.

Stevens said he is going to sell it. He noted he doesn’t believe there is anything illegal about selling it back to Peterson.

Neighbor Josh Zimmerman asked, what if the three neighbors want to buy the property?

Stevens replied that he hadn’t thought about it.

Chairman Eric Meyer noted he was looking to get a compromise out of the deal. When Peterson was present, his stories were always conflicted said Meyer.

Neighbor Allen Schreiver said he is in the middle. He likes his neighbors but there are too many shady deals going on.

Stevens asked the board if he was following the rules and regulations to a “T”.

Meyer replied, ”Yes.” 

Hoffman explained one of the main reasons discussed between board members last time was hampering ag or the growth of ag. 

Board member Steve Schmeichel said most housing developments are being built in the agriculture district.  

Miller explained to the group if one of the neighbors wanted to build a hog facility it is going to be someone else they have to get permission to have the right to build. 

Schmeichel commented that the board was still looking to have a compromise. Is there a possibility this group can get together and find a solution he asked?

A motion was made by the board to allow the four neighbors to discuss the issue to come up with a compromise. After a 10-minute recess, a motion was made to come back into the public meeting. 

Zimmerman noted to the board the group had a good discussion. 

“How about if we put it in Josh’s words that there may be more than one opposition being brought here,” said Stevens.

Zimmerman explained to the board that the group is looking for the board to deny the application with the group’s approval. 

Board member Tony Ciampa asked Stevens would he withdraw the application?

Stevens replied that he was not going to do that. 

Zimmerman said he understands why Stevens didn’t want to withdraw; he is standing by his word and doing the right thing. 

Schmeichel made the motion to deny the application based on the future expansion of agriculture and the opposition by neighbors. Since there was a lack of a second motion, the motion died. Ciampa made a motion to go into an executive session based on pending and proposed litigation. After about 15 minutes in executive session, the board reconvened with the public meeting.

Miller made a motion to deny the application because of the public opposition and the right to farm with ag expansion. Hasse seconded the motion with a roll call to follow.

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