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Commissioners approve conditional use fill-dirt permits for beef plant

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Commissioners approve conditional use permits

The Lincoln County Commissioners discuss conditional use permit applications with a room full of people interested in the proceedings and outcome at Monday’s meeting. The two applications were approved following a lengthy discussion.

Another piece in the process of the Sustainable Beef project fell into place on Monday.

The Lincoln County commissioners approved two conditional use permits to allow “fill-dirt” to be transported to the project site east of Newberry Access. Both permits — submitted by Gary and Ruth Stearns and Robert Long —were granted for 10 years.

The Stearnses property is partially under the City of North Platte’s 2-mile jurisdiction as well as a portion of the property under the county’s jurisdiction. The city will hold a public hearing Tuesday before voting on it’s own conditional use permit for the property.

The commissioners voiced similar concerns that were brought up at the Sept. 13 County Planning Commission meeting. The main concern being who is responsible for damage to county roads with the increased truck traffic.

Commissioner Kent Weems made it clear that the language in the conditional use permit regulations states the property owner and/or Van Kirk Bros. Contracting could be liable for road damage.

Darren Hellbusch of Van Kirk said he was concerned about the open-ended language of the costs of repairing the roads.

“The cost for damage that requires additional repair,” Commissioner Joe Hewgley said, “is the responsibility of the property owner.”

He said the determination of damage would be made by Highway Superintendent Jason Schultz.

“The property owner has the opportunity to appeal that assessment,” Hewgley said.

Judy Clark, county planning administrator, said the county has previously not seen a project of this magnitude. Deputy County Attorney Tyler Volkmer said there is a lot of gray area in the regulation that makes it uncertain as to responsibility for the costs of repair.

“I think we can come up with some common ground that we can discuss,” Hewgley said concerning the responsibility for the costs of repair. “But it was (the property owners) responsibility to know what was in the conditional use permit.”

Commissioner Jerry Woodruff said the county needs to work out a mutually reasonable agreement.

“We have to think about the growth of the county,” Woodruff said.

Clark noted that during her lengthy career with the city and county she has not seen unreasonable damage to roads through various types of large-scale projects.

“There is going to be a lot more traffic in that area,” Chairman Chris Bruns said. “It’s part of the growing pains county wide that (need to happen), that is my hope.”

Commissioner Micaela Wuehler said without the approval of the conditional use permits to mine fill-dirt, the Sustainable Beef project “is not going to happen.”

The vote in favor of both applications was unanimous, paving the way for construction to begin.

The commissioners approved the request by the Fairway Estates Homeowners Association to accept dedication and adoption of Fairway Estates Road, Fairway Avenue, Fairway Drive and Club House Drive as shown on Campbell Estates First Subdivision.

Volkmer said state statute requires the county to take over ownership of roads as long as they have been built to county specifications. Clark said the original roads met county regulations when they were built in 2001, which qualifies them for approval.

Highway Superintendent Jason Schultz said his only concern with the roads in the subdivision would be drainage. He said the roads appeared to be in pretty good condition from his inspection and that there did not appear at this time to be any drainage issues.

The county’s right-of-way along the roads within the subdivision have instances of sprinkler systems and landscaping, and the commissioners made sure the property owners understood those could be damaged if the county would be required to do work in the area.

Bruns said his concern was the property owners in the subdivision paying taxes, but not getting full services.

The commissioners approved the request unanimously and will take over maintenance of the roads.

In other action, the commissioners:

Approved the purchase of a plotter/scanner for the Register of Deeds Office in the amount of $9,695.

Appointed Woodruff and Kent Weems to the management committee of the black-tailed prairie dog management plan.

Approved special designated liquor permits for Pals Brewing Company for the pumpkin patch festival at the Homestead Pumpkin Patch on Oct. 7, 14, 21 and 28.

Received the highway superintendent’s report on the vacation of a portion of Somerset Road. A public hearing on the report will be at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 10.

Adopted a resolution for the 2022-23 cash-in-lieu program for health insurance.

Adopted a resolution directing the county treasurer to issue tax sale certificates on those parcels in which there are two years delinquent real estate taxes or special assessments.

Approved a report from the county treasurer on property taxes that are uncollectible and need to be stricken according to state statute.

Authorized Bruns to sign the right-of-way application submitted by Great Plains Communications.

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