County board also votes 2-1 to allow variance to subdivision ordinance
By Jim Magdefrau
VINTON – Lighting concerns were again addressed by the Benton County Board of Supervisors for the intersection of Highway 30 with the Van Horne/Blairstown road, as construction continues on the new four-lane highway.
The board met Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the service center conference room in Vinton.
Supervisor Chairman Tracy Seeman said he watched the traffic the night before. The lighting wasn’t bad, he said. He felt the intersection was not lit too well, and asked about another light pole on the west side over the turning lane, south of the highway. He stressed he understood when the project is done, there will be better lighting. They also realize this is on state right-of-way.
Benton County Engineer Myron Parizek explained the state allows two types of lighting at intersections. One is a destination light and the other is full-fledged intersection lighting. The Department of Transportation (DOT) evaluates intersections to see what type of light is warranted. Parizek said he made an informal request with the DOT the day before regarding lighting.
The board agreed they’d wait until they hear back from the DOT. Parizek advised planning for lighting can begin now. The lighting at intersections with county roads, Parizek added, are driven by the county. The DOT does not put up the lights.
A variance was proposed for Kim Dulin for land in Section 22, Taylor Township. This is on the east edge of Vinton. Dulin is building a new home on land that was previously given an exemption. Land Use Administrator Greenlee said a variance from the subdivision ordinance is now needed since a third parcel is being proposed. Greenlee cautioned a precedent could be set if a variance was approved, and the board has to be consistent in what it does. Dulin’s brothers pointed to a family agreement regarding the land and its development. The precedent could be dangerous in the future, Greenlee stressed. One requirement in the ordinance calls for a hard-surfaced road for subdivisions.
Supervisor Richard Primmer explained the land was gifted to Kim and it is his property. Primmer said he had no problem with the variance, adding that he does not like the ordinance. It blocks needed progress for the county. “If we don’t do something at some point, we’re going to tax the citizens to death,” Primmer warned.
Supervisor Gary Bierschenk said his concern was the lack of a hard-surfaced road.
Primmer made a motion to approve the variance. Bierschenk seconded the motion. Bierschenk and Primmer voted in favor, and Board Chairman Tracy Seeman voted against the variance.
The board approved a land use change for Shawnee Lines, for land in Section 32, Eden Township (rural Van Horne). She plans a beauty salon in an existing building. It is part of an original farmstead and is not on agricultural land.
Wes Haefner, Benton County Roadside Manager, had a service area amendment approved. This will help pay for a new employee. The amendment moves funds from part-time temporary employees to a full-time employee.
Benton County Engineer Myron Parizek received approval for a utility permit for Alliant Energy on 55th Street in Cedar Township. This is south of Mount Auburn. They plan to go underground with the electricity in that area.
Lighting was discussed for the Blairstown and Highway 30 intersection.
Building values were discussed as Supervisor Richard Primmer gave a report on insurance.