Never been overruled on Matrix scoring

To the editor:

In an effort to facilitate accurate information regarding the Master Matrix scoring system, allow me to explain the scoring system.

First, just because Jefferson County passes a Master Matrix resolution each January, it in no way provides ?local control.? It only provides that the board of supervisors can participate in the scoring process, and that process is solely based on a point system, which the board *must* use. Our feelings on the case have no bearing on the outcome.

It matters not where the applicant is from, how many barns they have, etc. The only criteria is ?points.?

There is a minimum requirement of 440 points out of a possible 880, and they must also score a minimum of 25 percent of the available points in each of three categories: ?water,? ?air? and ?community.? If the Matrix accumulates the requisite number of points, then it will pass, period.

There are 44 areas in which points can be accumulated, but not all areas are used in each Matrix application. The applicant takes points in any category they choose and we verify that they are entitled to those points or a portion thereof.

The DNR scores the Master Matrix exactly as we do. We cannot demand distances that exceed the existing requirements, nor can we second guess the DNR?s decision.

We verify distances claimed, perform site visits, including one with the DNR. At the time of the DNR visit, all distances are verified by a representative of the Matrix preparer.

The board of supervisors could reject every application who came before us. However, if the DNR determined that the required points were met when we denied the application, the DNR could approve the permit to build anyway. At the same time, because we did not provide a legitimate scoring report, the DNR would revoke our Matrix resolution, and our participation would cease.

Once the board has scored a Matrix, a report is prepared and along with any written comments, submitted to the DNR for review. However, it is the DNR and *only* the DNR that approves and provides the building permit. At no time does the board of supervisors control the final outcome of the process, regardless of how we score the Matrix. In fact if we, like Wapello, Keokuk and Washington counties, did not have the Master Matrix resolution, the barns would still be built, because the DNR is the sole deciding entity.

One final point, I would like to make here: In the 10 years since I have been on the board, we have rejected and approved numerous Master Matrix plans, and have done so in an honest and forthright manner, only looking at the scoring process, and because of our honest participation in the process, we have *never* been overridden by the DNR. They have *always* upheld our decisions.

That, my friends, is the process the state has provided and we are obligated to follow that process.


- Lee Dimmitt, Jefferson County supervisor