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The coronavirus pandemic continues to change how government bodies meet, with the Madison County Joint Planning Commission holding its second monthly meeting through Zoom on Thursday evening.

And for those who think that rural people and those close to or around retirement age are left out of the streaming technology, think again.

The joint planning commission again had a quorum and conducted two public hearings Thursday — all linked digitally. Commissioners and those with business before the board were able to call in and listen or watch the proceedings on computer.

“Looks like we’re going to have to do this for next month’s meeting also,” said Heather McWhorter, planning and zoning administrator.

At the end of June, the joint planning commission will see what directives there are to determine if commissioners can resume meeting in person.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, McWhorter said her office has been busy. Her office conducts building inspections and provides building permits for the rural areas of the county, among other tasks.

“It seems like more people have more time to get things done,” she said.

Richard Grant, chairman of the commission, said he has noticed a lot of building activity taking place around the area.

“We can tell,” she said, in agreement.

The zoning office is located at 1112 Bonita Drive, south of the Elkhorn River in southern Norfolk. Like many government buildings and businesses, the office is locked during the pandemic.

People are required to make appointments ahead of time to pick up or apply for building permits. In addition, business is also handled over the computer.

“So far, everything is good,” she said.

The latest building permit report for Madison County indicates there have been 24 building permits issued with a valuation of several million dollars though May 7 of this year. The projects include projects as small as moving buildings to houses and bins valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Building permits for the cities and towns in the county are not included in the totals.

The Madison County Joint Planning Commission met Thursday evening via Zoom.

Members present: Richard Grant, Roger Acklie, Joy Griffith, Jim Prauner, Stan Schapman, Raymond Flood, Merlin Milander and Merlin Oswald.

Members absent: Zach Westerman and Steve Abler.

Others present: Zoning office assistant Jennie Martinez; about four members of the public and one media representative.

Meeting lasted: 33 minutes.


— Commissioners conducted a public hearing and approved the application of Scott Amend to construct a building of more than 1,000 square feet at 863 Fourth St. in Meadow Grove. Amend said it would be a pole construction barn to hold equipment. The proposal will next go to the Meadow Grove Village Board.

— Commissioners conducted a public hearing and approved the application of Thomas Nelson for a conditional-use permit to construct a building of more than 1,000 square feet at 308 S. Pine St. in Tilden. It will be used for storage, including a tractor. A neighbor spoke in favor of it. The request will next go to the Tilden City Council.

— Heard Heather McWhorter, the zoning director, provide a monthly report and reviewed the building permit report.

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