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BE sends county letter of support

By Staff | Mar 14, 2011

John Roper

While the Blue Earth City Council expressed support for a Faribault County Commissioner’s plan to place a moratorium on pipeline construction, they wondered how it might affect businesses in Blue Earth – and the city itself.

Former city councilman and county commissioner Loren Lein asked the council to send a letter of support to the County Board.

At issue is a plan by Buffalo Lake ethanol plant to pipe waste water 17 miles to the Blue Earth River.

Commissioner John Roper informed the council the County Board plans to enact a moratorium on pipeline construction in the county.

“This will be for a year, with another year added if we need to,” Roper says. “It will give us time to work on a possible ordinance dealing with pipelines.”

Mayor Rob Hammond asked how this moratorium would affect local Blue Earth businesses, which may also have pipelines, or the city itself which is replacing sewer and water pipelines each year.

“This shouldn’t affect the city or businesses in the city limits at all,” Roper says. “You have the jurisdiction over the city of Blue Earth.”

Later in the regular council meeting last Monday night, the council voted unanimously to send the letter of support.

In other business at last week’s meeting, the council also continued work on four city ordinances.

The first would impose a fee and penalties for owners of abandoned buildings.

The council suggested several more changes to the ordinance, and sent it back to the city attorney for an additional rewrite.

A second and third ordinance dealt with raising building permit fees from $37 to $40, as well as changes to other city fees. Also changed was the fact that the council would no longer have to change the ordinance in order to change the fee schedule, but could do it by resolution.

The final ordinance under discussion concerns the construction of wind turbine towers in the city limits.

Wind turbines under 5,000 kilowatts can be regulated by the city. Larger than 5,000 kilowatt projects come under state jurisdiction.

The proposed ordinance deals with height restrictions and safety concerns.

The council discussed having three people from the wind power industry at the next meeting to discuss the issue.

The council plans on inviting one person from Blue Breeze, one from Blue Earth Light and Water, and one from a wind turbine company.

In another matter, the council also approved $15,600 in ceiling repairs to the Faribault County Fitness Center.