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Hog CUP decision back to county

By Staff | Nov 25, 2018

They’re inching towards a decision.

The Faribault County Commissioners met in regular session last Tuesday morning, Nov. 20, and received some clarification regarding the conditional use permit (CPU) for a proposed swine confinement facility in Jo Daviess Township.

Loria Rebuffoni, Planning Commission administrator, reported she recieved information from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) regarding a petition requesting the need for an Environmental Review.

Her report stated the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) had notified the Environmental Quality Board (EQB), Faribault County and the petitioner’s representative of MPCA’s decision which found the project exempt from environmental review.

It further explained the reasons for the exemption:

The permit is for 3,280 head of swine between 55 and 300 lbs., which equals 984 animal units. This is less than 1,000 animal units which would have triggered the review.

It was determined by MPCA staff the site is not located in an environmentally sensitive area.

The applicant agrees to design, construct, and operate the facility in full compliance with MPCA feedlot rules when signing the permit application.

The project is required by Faribault County Zoning Ordinance to obtain a CUP. The Faribault County Ordinance requires a minimum of one public hearing for a CUP.

The petition and documents submitted can be taken into consideration by the County Board on their own merits, but the petition has been dismissed for EQB and MPCA purposes.

Rebuffoni also said the MPCA has informed her they will be issuing the feedlot permit shortly.

With this updated information, Rebuffoni informed the board they have four options going forward:

Remand the CUP back to the Planning Commission for further evaluation and to provide a more factual basis and thorough recommendation. The next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 11 and the county commissioners would meet the following week on Dec. 18

Deny the CUP based on County Board decisions.

Approve the CUP pending MPCA State Permit approval. Additional conditions could be added to the permit.

Table the matter until the Dec. 6 meeting.

The additional conditions could include, but not be limited to, requiring the petitioner to install a bio-filter on all pit fans, adding trees on any or all sides of the proposed site and providing the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) with a wetland delineation survey for review and approval prior to construction.

Chairman Greg Young next opened the meeting to public comment.

“I am very concerned about the price of my property going down,” Alberta Greimann commented. “It is right across the road from the potential hog setup. There are seven homesteads very close to the site and we will all be affected by the depreciation of our property.”

Bruce Stensland remarked, “This thing is going to be built just south of my building site. There are 17 building sites within one-half mile of the site and it is not far from the city limits, a southwest prevailing wind would blow from the site right to Blue Earth.”

Stensland added, “I am not against hog farmers, I work on a lot of hog farmers vehicles, I am just against placing it where it is trying to be placed.”

The commissioners unanimously passed a motion to send the CUP back to the Planning Commission. The County Board would then take up the matter at the Dec. 18 meeting.

“I think the goal would be to get this done,” commissioner Tom Loveall commented. “Everyone involved in this deserves to have an answer.”

The public comment period also gave Zac Patten of Patten Roofing a chance to address the commissioners regarding the work his company did on the courthouse tower.

“I wanted to come today and express my appreciation for the opportunity to work on the courthouse,” said Patten. “I was very pleased with the results and thought it really turned out nice.”

He also explained to the commissioners the process which was used to replace the rotted wood in the tower.

Dawn Fellows of Central Services informed the commissioners there had been a new hire in the maintenence department. Bradley Winter was hired to replace a retiring employee. The board approved the hiring.

Fellows also explained there is an opening for an engineering position and also for a part-time deputy.

In other business the county commissioners:

Approved the purchase of a 2018 Ford F150 from Fairmont Ford for $37,606 plus fees. This will replace the vehicle which was damaged on Nov. 5 near Elmore.

The original price of the destroyed vehicle, a 2017 Ford F150 was $36,398. The insurance reimbursement for that vehicle was $36,550.

The vehicles are purchased at a discount as opposed to a normal retail price which explains why the reimbursement was favorable.

Approved a habitat easement for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Lisa Rairdin, realty specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service explained that the easement is in section 16 of Prescott Township and will allow for development and management of the property for wildlife habitat.

The property will still be owned by the landowner and he will be allowed to make hay from the ground after July 31 every year.

Approved the request by C. Alber, A. Huston, M. Stevermer, T. Elmer and D. Bullerman to attend a two-day Minnesota South Central Investigator’s Coalition conference in Mankato.

Changed the time of the Dec. 18 County Board meeting to 3 p.m.