For those who were hoping the Village of Osceola would support the extraterritorial zoning in regards to the mine expansion, their hopes got off to a bad start during a special Aug. 6 board meeting.
“I don’t see ETZ as an appropriate tool at this time,” said Benjamin Krumenauer, Village Administrator. “I don’t know if this is the right tool.”
Extraterritorial zoning is a planning tool used to project a level of planning control over an area of an adjacent township. The primary focus is to address existing and potential zoning and land use conflicts in a manner that compliments an anticipated growth of the community.
Of course, Krumenauer didn’t have a vote, but the tone was set.
Village President Jeromy Buberl talked about the village’s recent issues over the last 12 months, including finding funds to pay for a police officer in 2021, the raising of property taxes and of course, COVID-19.
“No one knows what the next year is going to be,” he said. “We don’t know what is coming. We have to live next to each other.”
Trustee Bob Schmidt believed the ordinance worked out is a good compromise between the Farmington residents and mine owners.
Trustee Joel West believed, if the village forced ETZ without Farmington’s buy-in, it would become adversarial.
Trustee Bruce Gilliland said if the ETZ is approved, it means plans would have to go back to zero, and no one seemed to be in favor of that. He also believes the Village of Osceola couldn’t do any better in terms of an ordinance.
“I don’t know if we need to do it,” Gilliand said, to summarize his opinion.
Van Burch spoke next.
“Looking at the ordinance, they got all their ducks in a row,” he said. Yet, as he continued, with the environmental risks, the noise, the tourism impact and being part of the St. Croix River Valley, and looking out for all residents, he was in favor of the ETZ.
Deb Rose was next.
“All the businesses that have expanded in the last six years have been in the south,” she said. “…ETZ makes you feel like you’re the big brother, but it feels it’s the only way we have a say.”
It was noted during the meeting that if the ETZ was approved, a joint committee comprising of three Village and three Town representatives must be set up to work through details regarding ETZ.
After further discussion, the motion was made to approve ETZ and it failed by a 4-2 vote with Rose and Burch approving and Buberl, Gilliand, Schmidt and West voting no.