The Rice County Board of Commissioners today unanimously approved a request for an amendment to the County Zoning Ordinance allowing Bridgewater Township to develop an industrial park.

Environmental Services Director Julie Runkel told Commissioners the Planning Commission gave their approval recommendation for the new Rural Industrial Zoning District designation.

Several Emails were received by the county from various rural residents concerned that the new designation opens the whole county to industrial uses in rural areas.  Below are quotes from a few of those submitted concerns.

"Please do not do this to our peaceful rural community."

"Please do not let the Bridgewater Township petition or application set forth a new precedent for the rest of rural Rice County."

"To be able to make any piece of property in Rice County available for industrial use is not good planning."

Commissioner Galen Malecha asked Runkel how, "This is not spot development?"

Her response, "If they're going to come and do just one parcel that's surrounded by whatever district it could potentially be spot zoning. But again you're going to be looking at some of that acreage.  What the other uses are around it and that type of thing."

In other business County Attorney John Fossum requested approval of the acceptance of a Victim Services Grant.  Fossum says, "This is a biennial grant for $70,000 a year for each of the next two years.  This year beginning in October through October of 2023.  These are federal funds that come through the state Office of Justice program and more or less funds our Victim Services Program.  The majority of the grant does pay the salary of the Victim Services Coordinator and also some of the program and training that we go through."

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