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FAQS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

1.       How many splits/parcels are allowed in each quarter-quarter section?
             Answer:  Effective April 1, 2006, our County Subdivision ordinance (Article 320) allows 3 splits by metes and bounds description per quarter-quarter section (approximately 40 acres), subject to the exceptions described:
           a. A split or subdivision of an existing building site from the contiguous land owned by the same person.
           b. A split or subdivision from contiguous land for an addition of land to a separately described existing building site.
            c. A split or subdivision of contiguous parcels to effectuate a like-kind exchange of the parcels.
             d. A split or subdivision of wetlands or similar non-agriculture producing land if not eligible for a dwelling from the contiguous land owned by the same person. NOTE: any more than 3 splits, one will have to go through the platting process.
2.       Do you need a permit for an addition to your home?
            Answer:  Whenever you change the dimensions of a structure, you need a land use (building) permit for $100.00.  If it is a deck or open porch, the fee is $50.00.
3.       Do I need a permit to re-shingle a house or put in new windows or new 
        siding?
             Answer:  A permit is not required when nonstructural maintenance is done on a structure.  Examples of this are re-shingling, replacing windows and doors.
4.       What is a Crop Equivalency Rating?
             Answer:
  A Crop Equivalency Rating (CER) is an index developed by University of Minnesota soil scientists which reflects relative differences in productivity between soils.  The rating can be used to help determine how a specific tract of land should be managed or what fair rental or purchased price is and to assist in determining a fair market value for land or in defining prime agricultural land.  The Sibley County Soil and Water Conservation District office, Gaylord ( 507-237-5435) determines the CER rating of soil types.  New lots in C-Conservation Agricultural District shall meet a prorated crop equivalency rating that is equal to or less than 57.  See page 300.45 in County Ordinance (Article 300) 
5.      What kind of a permit do I need if I build a 3 or 4-season porch 
       (enclosed) to an existing home? 
            Answer:   Land Use Permit is needed, providing setbacks are met.  The permit fee is $100.00
6.       Is there a building eligibility?
           Answer:
  A lot is considered buildable if the proposed building or parcel can meet minimum acres and setback requirements for a zoning district.  In addition the property has two sites with acceptable soils for a septic system and no wetlands are at issue for the proposed building site.
7.      What 5 basic conditions are attached to Conditional Use Permit for a
       new home on a site? 
            Answer:  (There could be additional conditions added to a Conditional Use Permit for a new home on a new site) 
             1. The dwelling is in or near an agricultural area and applicant is put on notice of the odors, dirt, noises, and hours of operation associated with agricultural activities.
             2.  2-year time limit to have home substantially completed, which includes but is not limited to having an activated septic system, a working well, and a completed exterior to the home.
              3.  Enough room for 2 septic systems.
              4.  Meet all setbacks for dwelling and out buildings.
              5.  No subdividing of this parcel for additional dwellings.
8.     Do we have a building inspector?
           Answer:  Sibley County does not have a building inspector.  A property owner is responsible for their own home inspector.  Sibley County does not require final inspection or certificate of occupancy and Minnesota Building Code for new and used homes.
9.     Where do I get an electrical inspection?
           Answer:
  Contact Chris Gappa, MN Department of Labor & Industry Electrical Inspector, at 507-327-6078
10.    Do I need a permit to build or replace a deck or open porch?
            Answer:  A land use permit is needed if you add a deck or open porch to a home.  Proper setbacks must be met even if the home has been there for many years.  The permit fee is $50.00.  The rule of thumb is that whenever you change the dimensions of your structure, you need a building permit. 
11.    Who do I contact for wetland information?
            Answer:  Contact Sibley County Soil, Water Conservation District or NRCS (federal unit) at 507-237-5435, Ext. 104.  Or contact the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) at 320-234-2550.
12.    Where do I order trees?
             Answer:  Call Sibley County Soil Water Conservation District at 507-237-5435, ext. 104 to order trees for spring planting
13.     If my property is in torrens property, what do I need to do to split a
        parcel?
             Answer:
  A Registered Land Survey platting process is required.  It includes a Planning and Zoning public hearing and County Board approval. 
14.    Can I get a building permit online?
            Answer:  No, an applicant needs to come to our office, fill out the application, and pay the necessary permit fee.  The various permit forms are available on this website for information that will be asked at time of application.
15.    How long is a permit valid?
           Answer:  A permit is valid for two years from date of issuance.  An applicant will have to follow the same procedure and pay the regular fees if the permit expires before a structure is substantially completed.  The only exception is a Septic Permit that is valid for 1 year.
16.   How do I apply for a Conditional Use Permit?
           Answer:  To obtain a Conditional Use Permit: 
                             1). Start with a required lot size according to the zoning district in which it is located.
                             2). Legal description of the property (A survey may be needed)
                             3). If the property is in C-Conservation Agricultural District, a Crop Equivalency Rating (CER) on soils is needed. Call Sibley County Soil Water Conservation District at 507-237-5435, ext.104 for the soils test)
                             4). An applicant needs to go to their Township Board with a Township Notification Form from our office to ask for their recommendation. 
                             5). Come to our office and apply for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP), providing you have the proper paperwork. A Conditional Use Permit fee is $600, plus $46 recorder's fee.  If the Conditional Use Permit is for a new home on a new site, a Land Use Permit (building) for $500 should also be paid. 
                             6). Planning and Zoning Commission Public Hearing gives their recommendation on the Conditional Use Permit request.
                             7). County Board of Commissioners gives their final approval or denial.
                             Remember Faxon, Jessenland, Kelso and Green Isle Townships have their own zoning.  Contact their planning and zoning administrators for more information.
17.    What permits do I need to replace a home?
             Answer:  A land use (building) permit and septic permit are required before any work is started (excavation, moving dirt, pouring concrete).  The proper setbacks must be met.  The existing home may have been built without proper setbacks before the zoning ordinance was adopted.  
18.    When do I need a stormwater permit?
             Answer:  When disturbing 1 or more acres of land for construction activities including clearing, grading and excavating, you need to obtain a general construction stormwater permit (Permit No. MNR 100001).  Contact Roberta Getman at the MPCA office in Rochester, MN for more information.
19.    What information is needed for a Land Use Permit or Setback
       Certificate?
             Answer:  Required front (from center of the road), side and rear property line setbacks, dimensions of the structure, estimated cost of structure, and estimated date of completion.  In addition, there are setbacks to lakes, rivers, drainage ditches, land ravines if the situation applies.
20.    Do you need zoning information on a piece of property? 
             Answer:
  Refer to the category "Maps" and then County Zoning Map.
21.    What is the process for a proposed subdivision?
             Answer:  The steps to create a subdivision are:
                               Sketch Plan
                                Must meet the pro-rated Crop Equivalency Rating (CER) of equal to or less than 57
                                Rezone to R-Suburban Residential 
                                Apply for Preliminary Plat
                                Apply for Final Plat
22.    If the septic system is failing after a compliance inspection, how long
       do I have to replace the septic system?
             Answer:
  If the septic system is failing and of imminent threat (going into state waters-lakes, streams, rivers, drainage systems or ground surface), the septic system needs to be replaced within 10 months from date of compliance inspection.  If it is failing to protect groundwater, the septic system can be replaced within 3 years from date of compliance inspection.
23.    When would a septic system not require a compliance inspection at
       property transfer?
             Answer:
  Environmental Services would not require re-certification of an Individual Septic Treatment System within three years for existing systems and five years for new systems from its certification date provided the system does not fail or become an imminent public health threat or other cause as deemed appropriate by our department.  If property was bought contract for deed prior to January 1, 2004, it would not require a compliance inspection.
24.    How do I get a septic permit?
             Answer:  One must first hire a licensed septic designer to provide results from various soil tests and provide  primary and alternate sites for new systems, following proper septic setbacks.  To replace a septic system, primary and alternate sites are not necessary.  The next step is to bring the set of designs and obtain  a septic permit along with the licensed septic installer's name.  When the county's septic inspector approves the designs, the site copy is sent to the homeowner or installer to follow the designer's plans during installation.  The installer will contact the county inspector for the needed inspections.  The final step is when the county inspector provides a "Certificate of Compliance" to show that the new system is completed and approved.
25.    How often does a septic tank need to be pumped and cleaned?
             Answer:  A good practice to follow is pump at least once every 3 years.  If there are many living in the household or if the system is used heavily, then have it pumped every other year.
26.    What is the "Straight-Pipe Law" for septic systems?
             Answer:  This law was effective  August 1, 2006 with the MPCA working with local governments units to regulate Individual Septic Treatment systems to enforce any found "Straight-Pipe Sewage Discharge: to issue a Notice of Non-Compliance Septic System.  This Non-compliance notice requires the homeowner to upgrade the system within 10 months or face monthly penalties of $500 for every month past ten months that the system is not upgraded. 
            "Straight-pipe system" means a sewage disposal system that transports raw or partially settled sewage directly to a lake, a stream, a drainage system, or ground surface."
27.    When I sell my property, what do I have to do regarding my septic
        system? 
            Answer:  If the septic system has not been replaced within 5 years at property transfer or re-certified within 3 years,  a compliance inspection  by a licensed inspector needs to be provided as to whether the septic is in compliance or non-compliance. If the system is failing, is the system of imminent threat to health and safety?
28.    Where do I pick up a Burning Permit?
             Answer:  Pick up a Burning Permit at the Sheriff's Department
     
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