Industrial Zoning in the Big Woods State Park?

rezoning area All who care about Nerstrand Big Woods State Park should be aware that the Rice County Board of Commissioners will soon vote on a request to re-zone 55 acres inside the statutory boundary of the park, and they will be discussing it a second time at their meeting February 12. The Commissioners have the final word, following a unanimous denial by the Planning Commission in January.

This remote and scenic area at the northeast corner of the park has had limestone mining for decades, a use that is permitted in the current agricultural zone; but the land is now for sale. The current owner (Doug Kielmeyer) seeks to re-zone the property permanently to the advantage of one potential new owner, and to the disadvantage of all those from the county, state, and beyond who treasure this park. Permissible uses in the light industrial zone could include a truck terminal, recycling facility, office building, auto sales, shooting range, adult entertainment, and more—uses inconceivable within an ecologically fragile park setting.

The Zoning Ordinance, along with the Comprehensive Plan, provides a reasonable framework for orderly and compatible land use based on recognized planning principles and citizen collaboration. In fact, chapter 4 of the Comprehensive Plan states, “forest lands are another priority for protection…, and the Big Woods State Park contains most of this treasured resource. Rice County encourages the reforestation around this area and for other scattered sites as a method to promote the survival of the Big Woods. Development in and around these areas will have to be evaluated to best protect the resource and possibly enhance the forest.”

Let’s honor the work of many who have put time and expertise into these documents and re-zone only when it furthers the goals and principles on which they are based.

We urge you to contact your county commissioners before Feb. 12 to express your concern, urging them to deny the re-zoning request.

Jay & Kirsten Johnson

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contact rice county commissioners

Sent the email to save the 5 acres for nature...thanks for the heads up!
In case people don't know, this is one of the last areas in this area for
a day amongst the trees and wildlife. 55 Acres is a lot of space. Enough
to manufacture some of the oxygen we all need...let it be that sort of
manufacturing spot.

Please make the contact, it's less than a minute or two at most.