Two individuals attended the Union County Board of County Commission meeting to discuss driveway entrances onto county roads throughout Union County. The ordinance passed in 2011 states that driveways need to be placed 1,000 feet apart. Jim Wennblom and Noreen Jorgensen both raised issues – Wennblom during public input and Jorgensen during Union County Highway Superintendent Jerry Buum’s time before the commissioners.

“I don’t understand the driveway and I think your ordinance or policy on that should be changed,” Wennblom said. “If a person has a reasonable request for a driveway, they should be allowed to put a driveway in.”

He said when the ordinance was approved, his 40 acres became exempt from being able to put in any other driveways, if he wanted to develop on his property.

Jorgensen, who stated that the driveway was there in the 1980s before it washed out during a flood, had paid to have a driveway placed on her property leading to the hunting lodge. Buum stated this happened back in May. He saw the driveway being put in and informed them they needed to stop the process and apply for a permit. Jorgensen applied for a permit that same day and was denied and the driveway was finished that day. The commissioners at the last meeting, June 29, asked about the driveway. Jorgensen pleaded her case by presenting multiple images of multiple driveways around her home that are less than the 1,000 feet. Buum looked over the images and stated many of those driveways were grandfathered in, as they were in before the 2006 ordinance and others were on townships roads, not county roads. Jorgensen said she changed the property names and reapplied for the permit as Buum had suggested, but was once again denied. Buum informed her that the property had to be owned by another entity from the property her house is on in order for the driveway to be approved. She stated that’s what they would do then and reapply after the process was completed.

Wennblom had a second concern about reflectors on county road and the lack of replacement after they’ve been hit by either county crews that are mowing or farmers with larger equipment. He asked if he could remove the posts that have no reflectors because some of the posts are bent and some are laying in the ditch by the road. The commissioners asked Buum to look into it and get them taken out and replaced.

At the last meeting, Wennblom was in to discuss his mailbox that was hit by a county mower. The commission discussed paying Wennblom $250 for a new mailbox, post and his labor, but never made a motion. That motion was made at this meeting and added it to the claims list.

Department Heads

Union and Lincoln County Veterans Services Officer Susan Irons was in attendance to discuss her position and give a monthly report. She reported that veteran contact numbers are increasing in both counties. She stated that she loves Union County, the veterans, the staff at the courthouse and working with the county officials, but there is just not enough of her to go around. Irons will finish out her contract for this year and informed the commissioners that they might want to consider making a full-time position for Union County. The commissioners asked Irons whether she would be willing to sit on the interviews for potential employees and train the person hired if they were to find someone before her contract was up. She agreed to both.

Later during budget discussions, the commission briefly mentioned making the position a 19-hour, two-and-a-half day position. (Irons was contracted for 80 percent Lincoln County and 20 percent Union County). Union County Auditor Jackie Sieverding was directed to place an ad in the papers.

See full story in this week’s Leader-Courier.