Appeals Board will review decisions of SWCD

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Sibley County Commissioners, last week, approved establishing a joint appeals board to review decisions made by the Soil and Water Conservation District. The approval was given by a 3-2 vote by commissioners.

Commissioners Leo Bauer, Bill Pinske and Lee Anderly supported establishing the joint appeals board, while commissioners Harold Pettis and Charlie Woehler opposed the action.

The request to establish the board was made last month by Tim and Mary Boelter, who are presently involved in a wetland litigation issue with the City of Green Isle.

Sibley County Attorney Dave Schauer, in a May 19 memo to the county board, informed commissioners that under state statute, the local government unit is defined as where the drain and fill activity took place. In this case, the local government unit refers to the City of Green Isle, Schauer said.

The joint appeals board will be established with the Soil and Water Conservation District. There will be two members from the city and two soil and water district supervisors.

This is the first time a joint appeals board has been established in Sibley County. It is provided for in the Joint Powers Agreement entered into between Sibley County and the Soil and Water Conservation District, dated Aug. 10, 1993. The Joint Powers Agreement provides for the delegation of Sibley County’s authority under the Wetlands Conservation Act to the SWCD.

In June 2004, the Sibley County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors approved the replacement plans submitted by the City of Green Isle for wetland impacts at the Green Isle Industrial Park and the Shamrock Acres development. The City proposed to provide wetland replacement for these impacts, as well as excess wetland credits for banking, by creating wetland on the Boelters’ land. The plans are dated July 1999 for the industrial park and July 2000 for Shamrock Acres. The excavation and seeding on the Boelters’ land occurred in 1999-2000.

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