Chairperson Darryl Weber Called the Plan Commission Meeting to order at 6:30p.m. with the following members present: Paul Morrison, Andrew Blomstrom, Dave Hagemann, Brian Duffin and Sharon Christensen. Member Lloyd Klahn was absent. Also attending was Brian Standing, Andrew Bremmer, Jerry Jensen, Chris Johnson, three members from DATCP and two township residents.
Special meeting of Oregon Township Plan Commission opened at 7:00 p.m. Andrew Bremmer explained that the purpose this meeting was to review the farmland preservation program in the township. The land use map that was submitted by the township in its updated comprehensive land use plan was being questioned by the state agency - Department of Agricultural Trade and Consumer Protection. This agency determines whether the town's land use is in compliance in order to receive tax credits for township landowners from the farmland preservation program. DATCP has interpreted the township's land use map to indicate that over 6500 acres are zoned either conservation subdivision or transitional agriculture. This would seem way out of line to accommodate the future growth needs of the township. Brian Standing however explained that the township treats its transitional agriculture (A-3) zoned property the same as if were zoned agriculture preservation (A-1). This would make a big difference in DATCP's interpretation. Brian Standing suggested that the township not make any changes to it's comprehensive plan but to instead redo the land use map. Changes needed to be made anyway regarding the conservation subdivision zoned area. Chapter 91 requires that all property in areas zoned conservation subdivision must be considered A-3. The net result of Brian Standing's suggestions would be as follows:
If these changes were made, the township's land use map would fall right in line with it's projected growth needs. DATCAP informed us that once the land use map is amended that the land and water conservation board would make a final determination that it was appropriate. DATCP also informed us that the township would have 6 to 12 months after the farmland preservation plan is approved to bring the land use map into compliance. This would include the blanket rezone changes suggested by Brian Standing. Brian also suggested that the township consider two different types of preservation areas such as production agriculture along with mineral extraction or possibly a lesser production agriculture area. This suggestion would be taken under consideration by the Plan Commission at an upcoming work session.
There was discussion on whether to continue with the farmland preservation program in Oregon Township. Currently there are 24 land owners who receive tax credits from the program but these credits have become minimal in recent years. DATCP pointed out that it would be wise to stay in the program in order to be eligible for future benefits such as PDR (purchase of development rights) and be involved in the working lands initiative. Plan Commission members agreed with DATCP and chose to stay in the farmland preservation program. Discussion then focused on whether to amend the land use map for farmland preservation before or after the approval of the township's comprehensive plan. Public hearing for the comprehensive plan is scheduled at the county in one week. It was decided to proceed with the public hearing as scheduled in order to find out if the county had changes or requests of their own to the township plan. The public hearing would take place before the Zoning and Land Regulation board on the evening of March 25 in room 201 of the City-County building. It was decided that Andrew Bremmer would represent the township at the public hearing because all plan commission members would be needed at their regularly scheduled meeting on March 25th. The special meeting of the Oregon Township Plan Commission was closed at 9:00 p.m.