PILLAGER -- Two Cass County Environmental Services employees will evaluate alternatives available to zoning applicants in the future when an application initially has been rejected or is questionable.
ESD Director Paul Fairbanks has made this change in response to complaints received last month from Pat Moran, owner of Moran Realty, who said he has been given differing views from different county employees in the past.
Following a June 19 meeting of the board personnel committee, composed of Commissioners Jim Demgen and John Stranne, Administrator Robert Yochum reported to the full board Wednesday that the public will be directed to the assessing department rather than environmental services regarding property valuation questions.
Moran also had raised the issue of wanting an opinion in writing from ESD on whether a lot was buildable.
Yochum said that determination should be made by assessing department staff when the question of value for the property is raised. Yochum told the board he believes that was the situation in the case Moran discussed.
If there are zoning questions involved, it is a simple matter for assessing staff to confer with environmental services staff before making a valuation decision, Yochum added. The two offices are adjacent to each other.
Fairbanks reported to the board adding staff to his department this year has shortened the time between application submission and approval.
When board members asked Yochum about the difference between Hubbard County's ability to issue permits within a few minutes vs. Cass' few days, Yochum said Hubbard does not have as strict regulations as Cass.
The board asked Yochum to prepare a comparison between the two counties.
If further time improvement is needed here, Yochum said Fairbanks could seek overtime pay added to his budget next year or additional employees.
Fairbanks reported to the personnel committee ESD employees are continuing their cross-training in all responsibilities within the department. This is an effort to ensure one person can inspect for a variety of issues, rather than to have to send multiple employees to the same site, he said.
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