Goodhue County looks into changing definition of bluffArea News
-- After seeing Wabasha County deal with a legal challenge to its definition of “bluff,” Goodhue County decided it’s time to re-think its definition.
By: Regan Carstensen - Red Wing Republican-Eagle, Pierce County Herald
RED WING - After seeing Wabasha County deal with a legal challenge to its definition of “bluff,” Goodhue County decided it’s time to re-think its definition.
The counties used to define bluff in the same way: A high bank or bold headland with a broad precipitous sometimes rounded cliff-face overlooking a plain or body of water, especially on the outside of a stream or meander-river bluff, that rises or drops 25 feet from the horizontal and the slope averages 30 percent or greater.
Wabasha County changed its definition when it was challenged.
Bluffs are protected and zoning restricts development in blufflands.
“That language, I guess, was really kind of subject to some interpretation,” Goodhue County Planning Director Mike Wozniak said.
As a result, the Goodhue County Board approved an amendment to the definition of bluff on Tuesday, in an effort to avoid any challenges.
“The reason for this is basically to make it clear what the intent of the county’s definition of bluff is,” Wozniak said.
The new definition reads: A natural topographic feature such as a hill, cliff or embankment having the following characteristics:
A. The slope rises at least 25 feet above the toe of the bluff; and
B. The grade of the slope from the toe of the bluff to a point 25 feet or more above the toe of the bluff averages 30 percent or greater;
C. An area with an average slope of less than 20 percent over a horizontal distance of 50 feet shall not be considered part of the bluff.
“I think it tightens up the language a little better,” Commissioner Ron Allen commented.