Stark County proposes updates to policiesStark County commissioners are looking to the future and planning for new industry and technology, such as wind power.
Stark County commissioners are looking to the future and planning for new industry and technology, such as wind power.
The commission approved a proposal from Roosevelt-Custer Regional Council to update the county’s comprehensive plan at its Tuesday meeting.
The study, which was included in the county’s 2010 budget, will cost between $16,000 and $19,000 to conduct, according to the proposal.
The comprehensive plan covers areas such economics, population, housing and transportation, Commissioner Russ Hoff said after the meeting.
“The comprehensive plan is basically background information,” Hoff said. “It gives us a foundation for the county planning.
“Information in this comprehensive plan helps us make the best decisions when it comes to planning and zoning changes.”
At the meeting, Rod Landblom, executive director of R-CRC, said the county’s comprehensive plan was adopted in 1982.
“The plans themselves have upheld the test of time ... except for the fact that we’re getting into some new areas of concern that probably behooves the county to start looking at updating and changing with the times, if you would,” Landblom said.
The county’s policies need to be reviewed and some will likely be changed, Hoff added.
“There’s been a lot of changes in the county over this period of time, you know, in 28 years,” Hoff said. “For instance, there’s nothing on wind power in there and this is something that’s probably going to be on our doorstep in the future.”
The R-CRC is charging $48 an hour plus travel expenses to do the update, Landblom said.
Public input meetings will be held on the matter as new developments are made.
“It becomes a very dynamic activity and this will not be done in a vacuum,” Landblom said. “It also will of course create a little controversy.”
Commissioner Jay Elkin said some of the county’s policies need to change to reflect the changing economy.
“I don’t want to lose sight that agriculture is still the No. 1 industry in this state, or even in this region,” Elkin said. “But the fact is, a lot of the development that’s taking place is energy development or energy-related and it happens to be happening around here.”
In about a year, R-CRC will present the commission with its results and a recommendation for changes. Commissioners will be working with the council along the way, Hoff said.
The commission will likely budget for planning and zoning regulations to be reviewed in the same way after the comprehensive plan is completed, Hoff said.
Duane “Bucky” Wolf, commission chairman, said whether the county and city zoning boards should consolidate has been a question in the past. Commissioner Jay Elkin would like to see that idea investigated.
“I would like our zoning regulations to more or less mirror what the city is doing,” Elkin said. “So much of what we end up making decisions in regard to when it comes to zoning happens to the city as well.”
In other matters, commissioners approved six property tax abatements for properties damaged by a July 8 tornado in Dickinson. The values of the properties were reduced by 50 percent.