From: Eric Nelson and Debi Niebuhr
Concerned about protecting Winona County’s bluffs and seeing more houses on bluff tops?
Some members of our Winona County Board and Planning Commission are bent on dismantling the zoning ordinance to allow defacing of bluffs in the name of profit and some sort of twisted pursuit of happiness.
On Thursday, May 16, the Planning Commission meets at 7 p.m. in the Government Center. They will discuss proposed changes to current ordinances that would allow expansion of houses on bluff ridge lines that face the county’s valleys and along the Mississippi River.
Planning commissioners should: 1) vote against any expansions of bluff top houses that would be more visible in valleys, 2) vote against changes that would cause more erosion or spoil water quality, and 3) set dates for public informational meetings about zoning ordinance changes before any public hearing date is set.
If the planning commission goes straight to a public hearing, it can quickly follow with a vote and ramrod drastic changes before citizens knew what hit them.
Informational meetings will allow citizens to ask questions about how proposed changes in bluff line and shoreline setbacks, nonconformity, and building expansions might alter the beautiful landscape.
Proposed changes in bluff setback distances, and other actions to soften the ordinance, were suggested by Steve Jacob, Winona County Board and Planning Commission member. As he acknowledged to the Winona Daily News, some of the proposed changes would allow expansion on his property above the Whitewater River valley. Is this a conflict of interest?