Late last night, in Quarry quandary: OAH denies part of Ortonville annexation of land under township moratorium, Bluestem posted about a property that had been
permitted by Big Stone County for a large blast-and-smash granite quarry that would destroy some of Big Stone County's namesake big stones
Learn more about the backstory here at the High Plains Reader.
After being approached by township residents and landowners concerned about property values, traffic, noise, water, dust and rare cacti, the Ortonville Board of Supervisors enacted a moratorium while they wrote land use ordinances. The moratorium was recently extend for a year.
In response the landowner, who had agreed to let his land be mined, divided his property into smallers parcels that touched on the city limits; the relatives then petitioned to have the parcels annexed into the city.
Only one ruling--a denial--of one of the petitions was posted online last night. Today, Bluestem has received and posted a copy of Assistant Chief Administrative Law Judge Timothy O'Malley's memo about all of the petitions. While that of Gayle Hedge was approved , the rest were denied.
Not beinga lawyer, Bluestem can't say with certainty what this means, but it appears that Ortonville Township still has jurisdiction over the properties where all of the proposed Strata Corporation's rock processing, storage and shipping was to have taken place, while the property where the hole was to be dug is now part of the City of Ortonville.
Since the land that remains in Ortonville Township is subject to a moratorium, the quarry project can't--for the moment--go forward. We don't know what recourse the landowners, the City of Ortonville and Strata Corporation have at this point, but this is a positive development for the many people who sought to preserve the working landscape just outside of town.
Headwaters of the Minnesota River, Big Stone County is on the Minnesota-South Dakota border, directly west of the Twin Cities.
From the memorandum:
The urban or suburban character of the Subject Area is outside the jurisdiction of the OAH in proceedings under annexation by ordinance. The OAH must determine that the jurisdictional requirements for an annexation by ordinance are met before an ordinance is approved. The OAH cannot conduct a hearing regarding disputes over the propriety of an annexation by ordinance. Where the presented facts show that there is a jurisdictional defect, the ordinance must be denied.
Docket No. A-7829 has been approved as there are no procedural defects present.
Dockets Nos. A-7830, A-7831, A-7832, A-7833, and A-7834 have been denied as the City did not receive petitions for annexation from all of the property owners as required by Minn. Stat. 5 414.033, subd. 2(3).
Here's a copy of Judge O'Malley's memorandum about his decision:
Photo: Someone got their wish: an anti-annexation sign in Ortonville, Fall 2012. Photo by Sally Jo Sorensen.
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