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Letter: Principle is at stake in campground case

To the Editor:

The Hidden Valley campground case, sand mining and wind generation all have something in common: a heightened concern about public resources and the importance of land-use regulation.

Environmental protection laws are a benefit and a burden. We have learned in Goodhue County how important they are for the protection of our natural resources, especially our protected waters.

It wasn't always this way.

When I first became active in land-use regulation in the county, it seemed that the prevailing attitude was that zoning and such regulation was more a burden than a benefits.

The case of Hidden Valley, however, is in a class by itself.

In the frac sand and wind cases, the property owners were seeking permits and licenses. In the case of Hidden Valley, the owner wants to operate without the necessary licenses and permits.

The Cannon River zoning in Welch does not permit commercial uses. The campground has a special exception from the state and county. To benefit from that exception, it has to follow the laws regulating the river — including getting a license from the Department of Health and building a sewage system as required by the Pollution Control Agency. All other campgrounds operate under those rules.

An important principle is at stake. If we want to share in the benefits of good land-use regulation, we must all bear the burdens.

Terry Fruth