Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Regulations are a good thing!

Sometimes we get a little disgusted because it seems like we need to get permission just to do stuff that makes our lives worth living. Example: the Gopher One call. We need to make that call before we do any digging in road right of way - even if it is something as simple as planting a flower. If we want to build a new building, add on to a building, blacktop a driveway, add a new field approach, - all of these activities require "asking permission" of some entity and perhaps having to get a permit.

Usually we consider this "just another interference" from some unknown governmental agency. Sometimes our attitude is that "these folks are doing this to perpetuate their jobs." These are typical human responses.

The human response can change with changing conditions. For example, the human response changes very quickly when our neighbor wants to expand his or her livestock business; or put up a dog kennel; or start a home business; or lease land to a developer for commercial wind turbines. When conditions change and we walk in someone else's shoes, we are not so upset about having rules and regulations in place. My experience has been that - when conditions change; it is common for folks to desire even stricter regulations.

For many years, Nicollet County has been a model for other counties in regard to the way we do zoning. I received another reaffirmation of that in the form of an e-mail last week. A person from Illinois sent me a message and asked why Nicollet County had increased our setbacks from residences in our Wind Energy Conversion Ordinance. His message said, "I live in Adams County, Illinois where wind developers are just beginning to look at our area for development. Our County Board hurriedly put together an ordinance as we have no rural zoning in this county." Continuing, the message stated, "Also, do you have a public hearing process before a permit is approved?"

My response to him explained the need for more local control when developers come into our county; and at the same time maintaining the ability of landowners to do development on their own land thus keeping any benefits. Again, most of us would choose to have some rules in place to protect our property as well as guiding development, rather than having to live with the above scenario. end

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