Throughout Redwood County various types of land exist which serve a number of different purposes.

Rather than allow carte blanche use of those lands, leaders at the county level established a set of rules that indicate what can and what can’t be done in those varied locations. Those rules and policies fall under the zoning ordinance, which regulates land use across the county.

Whether one is putting in a new septic system, establishing a feedlot or looking to open a gravel pit, how those are implemented in Redwood County is determined by the zoning ordinance.

This coming Wednesday (March 28) from 5-8 p.m. at the community center in Wabasso a public open house discussing the county’s zoning ordinance is being held. 

According to Scott Wold and Nick Brozek of the Redwood County environmental office, the reason for the open house is to provide the public with an opportunity to learn more about some of the amendments that have recently been made to the zoning ordinance.

Every 20 years or so the county takes the time to review the zoning ordinance to ensure what it is regulating is still applicable.

“Times change,” said Brozek, adding that means it is also important to have a zoning ordinance that addresses those changes.

The environmental office had been looking at the zoning ordinance little by little in recent years, but it determined that process was not as effective or efficient as bringing in an outside consultant that could focus solely on the ordinance review and accomplish the updated review in a much shorter period of time.

“Bringing in a consultant also means having a new set of eyes looking at the ordinance as well,” said Wold.

The open house is an informational meeting where the public is invited to come in and meet with the environmental office staff to learn about the changes being proposed and to provide input on those proposals prior to final approval.

Wold said there are no real substantive changes to the county’s zoning ordinance.

Rather, added Brozek, the updates are going to help streamline the process.

A synopsis of the changes can be found on the Redwood County Web site, as can the entire 350-page ordinance. A hard copy of the ordinance is also available at the environmental office located in the county government center in Redwood Falls.

The last comprehensive review of the zoning ordinance was conducted in the early 2000s, with a review done in 1981 prior to the most recent work.

Following the open house the proposed ordinance revisions will be presented to the planning and zoning commission, which will consider recommendation to the county board.

The county board will then review the proposal prior to final adoption.

Brozek said if people are not able to attend the meeting, they can stop by the environmental office or give the office a call at (507) 637-4023.

More information about the ordinance is also available online at www.co.redwood.mn.us.

In other county news, the Redwood County board of commissioners met March 20.

During the meeting, the board:

• Approved the purchase of a pavement router based on the recommendation of Keith Berndt, county engineer, at a cost of $23,250. According to Berndt, the piece of equipment is used to smooth out cracks in the roadway prior to those cracks being filled. New regulations require mitigation of the dust that is created during that process, and the existing equipment does not meet the new rules.

• Approved the purchase of two new tandem trucks with snow equipment at a cost of $114,824 each. The total purchase with the equipment is $436,814, with the potential to trade in two current trucks with equipment valued at $36,000.

• Accepted a Minnesota Boat and Water Safety grant for the Redwood County Sheriff’s Department in the amount of $900.

• Approved the purchase of Celebrite software for the sheriff’s department in the amount of $9,085. The software provides access to digital information for department investigations.

• Approved the liquor license renewal application for the Tracy Country Club.

• Approved a gambling license for Southwest Minnesota Ducks Unlimited.

• Held a discussion regarding financial options for a new courthouse building and county highway shop. A variety of options were presented to the commissioners with bond options ranging from $6.5 to $8 million.