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home : opinion : letters to the editor May 24, 2016

10/30/2013 8:59:00 AM
County can do better with variance hearings

County can do better with variance hearings
I recently had the displeasure of being involved in a variance hearing with the Cottonwood County Board of Adjustment.
I was joined by two staff members from the environmental office, six members of the board and a county commissioner who said he was there to speak on behalf of a land owner who had previously signed and notarized a setback waiver, but now, according to the commissioner, wanted to change his mind. Also present were members of my family and landowners who were against the variance.
Ultimately the decision of the board was not in my favor and that I can except. The manner in which the hearing was conducted and the seemingly selfish motives of this commissioner I cannot.
I have seen a higher level of parliamentary procedure at a 4-H meeting being conducted by a teenager.
There were motions being made that were not clear. It was suggested just to ignore a motion that had been made because it was not seconded.
These board members are to conduct official business, but the way this hearing was conducted was marginally official at best. I cannot believe that fair decisions can come from proceedings handled in this manner.
Also, it was suggested to the commissioner that his statement about the land owner (wanting to take back his waiver) might be hearsay. The commissioner replied "it was not."
When asked why not? He replied "because, I said it."
I had chose not to use names in this letter until I came across the letter to editor from Sept. 18 by Commissioner Jim Schmidt of Westbrook. What I find funny, Mr. Schmidt, is that you wondered where somebody came up with their facts when it seems you are a story teller yourself. It is very interesting how you tout yourself as a commissioner who is "very trustworthy" and "doing the right thing for all Cottonwood County citizens."
At the same time, it seems to be important to keep your friend's hunting land just the way you like it since you hunt there as well. What seems less important is me trying to build on my land something for me and my families' future.
We could have made this work and my family, our school district, Storden Township and Cottonwood County would have benefited. The only interest you were serving that day was your own and your hunting buddy that lets you hunt his land.
     - Bruce Grant

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