Land use is main order of business for supervisors

Benton County Service Center

By Jim Magdefrau

VINTON – Land use was the main topic for the Benton County Board of Supervisors at their meeting Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, at the service center in Vinton.

Kyle Helland met with the board regarding a variance to the subdivision ordinance for land in Section 28, Canton Township. There is no change in land use. They plan to split the property a third time, which brings the subdivision ordinance into play. They are not looking to build any new homes. The variance was approved.

A final plat was approved for Cromer’s First Addition to Benton County. This is north of Shellsburg. This is formal approval of something that was already approved, so it can be recorded, according to Land Use Administrator Marc Greenlee.

The board continued a land use hearing for Samuel Tiernan for land in Parcel B, Section 23, Florence Township. The board tabled the matter on July 27. There were concerns about sight distance for the existing driveway. A storage garage exists there now. They were seeking a residence there.

The matter was tabled at the previous meeting so they could get advice from the county attorney on the liability issue. Supervisor Chairman Tracy Seeman said he visited the site twice and there is not enough room. “It’s just a bad situation where you’re at,” Seeman told Tiernan. Seeman said there is no way around it.

If there was an accident there, even if the speed limit is lowered, it could come back on the county. The driveway has been in existence for 30 years, before the land use ordinance came into effect. Greenlee said it is a non-conforming situation to have the storage building there. Since it is a new use for the land, the issue with the driveway is relevant. The site distance requirement is 500 feet.

Supervisor Richard Primmer pointed out that lowering the speed limit does not lower the liability. He said it’s a situation where their hands are tied. The solution he saw was getting an easement from the neighbor for a driveway, or purchasing a small triangle of land from the neighbor.

Primmer made the motion to deny the land use change, with Primmer adding, “With my apologies.” It was denied on a unanimous vote. “It just doesn’t seem right, but again, it’s the liability end.”

Supervisor Gary Bierschenk urged Tiernan to not give up and to talk with the neighbor.

An employment contract was approved for Dean Verba, transportation director.

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