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May 20, 2019

4/26/2019 10:45:00 AM
Solar array permits on County Board agendas again, vets' van lease OK'd

A number of solar array permits were on the County Board agenda last week, to approve or deny their installation,  and the county commissioners appeared to desire re-opening interim use permit condition review.  County solar array permit ordinance language was re-written and adopted less than 12 months ago after a lengthy process of hearings and revision.  But the Board had lingering concerns about  permits as to reducing noise, refining setbacks and adding screening specifics.  

Commissioner George McMahon asked staff if if it might be an opportune time to look at solar facility rules again.

Citizens using public microphone last week complained about solar array inverter noise (hum) asking if this can be addressed.  Some said that arrays were being congregated in an area in Amador Township, and that there must be better restrictions on clustering facilities.  (A Franconia Twsp. group of citizens had raised the “saturation” issue when ordinance review was underway last year.)

There was discussion about whether the permit applications that came in before the newest version of interim use permit (IUP) ordinances were adopted,  could be placed under conditions related to new concerns.  Some of the new permits for arrays are for installations being developed by the same companies.
The four array sites on the agenda were approved unanimously, they are at 36715 Oriole Avenue;  at the corner of County Roads 9 and 11;  at 15535 375th St. and at an unassigned parcel, approximately 36000 Oriole Avenue.

By seperate motion by Commissioner Chris DuBose, the County Board also directed planning and zoning staff to work with the commission and take another look at plantings, setbacks, ambient noise and saturation/adjacency issues.

In another issue: the Veterans’ Transport Van is being replaced at 190,000 miles.  The Board was advised a month ago the existing van had problems, but staff hoped that it would be operational for a while yet.

The County Board decided to lease a replacement and use capital reserves to fit it out with the necessary wheelchair lift, etc.

Staff got quotes from vendors to lease or buy the van that’s used for bringing veterans to medical appointments in St Cloud and Minneapolis. The Board was advised leasing is the best option.  The unit will be a 2019 Ford Transit 350 and it runs about $1,100 per month to lease. Equipping it after-market is another $12,113.

To purchase is about $60,000 the commissioners heard.

The lease covers maintenance except for tires and glass.

Major discussion over a request from MnDOT ended up with no action taken.

The Sunrise Prairie Trail is to be impacted by work that the state has planned along Highway 61 (#30)  through Wyoming City.  Exsting right of way alongside the trail is narrow and drainage structures (culverts etc) are positioned incorrectly in state right of way.    The county was asked to sign-off on a statement declaring work to be done is “de minimus” or of little consequence.  This is a step to meet Federal Highway Administration requirements tied to funding.  Permanent easements are sought.

The work is slated for summer of 2020.  The project zone is all through Wyoming, from the south end by Hwy 8-- to across the bridge, about one-tenth of a mile on the west side of the freeway.  The work includes turn lanes, ADA compliant ramps and curb cuts, pavement resurfacing, traffic control devices.
Commissioner Ben Montzka said there was not enough information for him to vote to support this, and he convinced his fellow commissioners to vote to table the action.

County Engineer Joe Triplett will talk with MnDOT officials and bring more details to the next Board meeting, it was decided.

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