Business and property owners attend Solid Waste Ordinance hearing

A large crowd attended the public hearing of the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners yesterday. Many spoke out against a proposed solid waste ordinance.

According to Solid Waste Director Brian Olson, this was largely a combination of two old ordinances, with a couple of new policies added.

Many business and property owners spoke out against the ability of an inspector to access their properties.

Several Beltrami County residents spoke of their concern about the ordinance, which they felt certain parts infringed on their Fourth Amendment rights, which protect citizens of the United States from illegal searches and seizure of property.

“We have a sensitivity to people wandering around our property,” said Andy Wells of Wells Technology. “Whether they have a badge or not, we don’t like that.”

Wells added, “We understand we need some regulation, but we cherish our freedom.”

New policies to the ordinance include a mandate to remove hazardous waste before demolition, such as fluorescent lights, appliances and asbestos.

Other changes are a proposed junk yard permit and required licenses for all waste haulers.

Definitions on what constitutes a junk yard were also discussed during the public hearing.

Many at the public hearing said they had old cars and trucks on their properties, and a rural property without them is rare.

Olson also said he adopted language from neighboring counties and state statute for the new ordinance.

No action was taken during the meeting last night, and another public hearing is expected to be announced soon.

“As a team, maybe we can make this ordinance work for everybody,” said Wells.

View the ordinance draft in full here:

Ordinance 13 25 DRAFT


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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