Beltrami Co. Open to New Locations for Jail After Zoning and Resident Concerns
Beltrami County says it is open to other locations for their new jail project after being preemptively denied in rezoning the current proposed area.
The county initially planned to purchase the Wiebolt Property near Highway 2 for the new jail location. But to use the site for a commercial purpose, the county would need to request a rezoning.
A recent press release from the county says the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board sent a legal memo stating the jail would not be permitted in any zone under current zoning. Because of this, the county will delay submitting their conditional use permit and rezone request.
These developments come after a public listening session where over 150 county residents were in attendance, with many publicly disagreeing with the decision to use the Wiebolt Property. The county does not plan on abandoning the Wiebolt Property, but they will also look at other sites.
If the county jail project does not move forward, the Minnesota Department of Corrections could sunset the current jail. Sheriff Jason Riggs said this move would be at a high cost, possibly impoverishing the county.