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Supervisors Reject Moratorium

Mar 29, 2022 Updated Apr 6, 2022 (0)

The Holt County Board of Supervisors met in regular session on Wednesday, March 16. The afternoon session of the meeting was held at the Holt County Annex in speculation of an overflow crowd for the proposed 18 month moratorium dealing with industrial pipelines, solar, and wind projects that was brought forth by the Holt County Planning & Zoning committee from a meeting on March 7.

The Supervisors voted 6-0 to deny the proposed moratorium following the meeting.

Supervisor Chairman Bill Tielke opened up the floor for constituents to speak. Tielke set forth the rules before opening up the floor on the proposed moratorium. Members of the audience were allowed three minutes to speak.

Marv Fritz was the first to take the floor. Fritz stated that he would not like to see a moratorium and that it is a no brainier that you shouldn't keep industry out. Fritz stated that it would have been a travesty for the regulations to keep spawning industries out of the county for the sake of ignorance on not understanding the potential that such new and different industries can have on a county, siting such things as the tomato plant that Fritz was involved in. The mood of the crowd seemed to follow Fritz in the aspect of not having a moratorium.

Jan Chvala also asked the supervisors to deny the moratorium stating that the county can no longer be retroactive and must be proactive as the past has not been kind to the county with numbers in population declining. She also commented that holding up progress would be jeopardizing the future.

Nathan Nowlin, manager of Green Plains in Atkinson (the ethanol plant), said he is against the moratorium. There is a proposed pipeline which will capture carbon dioxide and carry it to North Dakota where it will be injected into the ground. This includes the Atkinson facility. “If we are kept from reducing the carbon intensity of our plant, it could put us out of business," said Nowlin. Seth Harder of the ethanol plant in Plainview commented that if some of the sections of the pipeline aren't allowed to be developed then the whole project could be in danger of not being built.

O'Neill Superintendent Amy Shane said that a number of O'Neill Public School Graduates have been able to get jobs at the wind farm and other related businesses. "We want our students to be able to come back and raise families here. I would hate to discourage anything that will allow that to happen," she said.

Planning and zoning commission member Mary Kaczor said she believes the commission has been reactive and needs to be proactive. "If your zoning regulations do not support the comprehensive plan, you're in muddy water."

According to Kaczor other counties close to Holt have approved, in the past, temporary moratoriums while updating their plans.

County Attorney Brent Kelly, stated Marvin Planning Consultants recommended to the commission a temporary moratorium.

As the comprehensive plan is rewritten the residents of the county will be surveyed to provide direction to the commission. There may be several town hall meetings held to help find out the direction the county wants to go.

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