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Two meetings two hog barns two decisions

By Staff | Jan 13, 2019

Two boards, two different hog confinement facilities and two different decisions.

Both the Faribault County Planning Commission and the Faribault County Board of Adjustment met last Tuesday night at the Ag Center in Blue Earth.

The main item on the agenda for the Planning Commission was the conditional use permit (CUP) for a proposed hog facility in Jo Daviess Township by owner Larry Twedt.

For the Board of Adjustment, the main agenda item was a set back variance for a hog building already under construction by Andrew Cartwright in Verona Township.

At their Dec. 18, 2018, meeting, the Planning Commission had already voted 6-1 to recommend to the County Board of Commissioners that Twedt’s request for the CUP be denied.

At last Tuesday’s meeting the Planning Commission needed to pass a motion that recognized a 5-page “Finding of Fact” document was accurate.

County attorney Kathryn Karjala read the document before the vote was taken. Commissioners agreed the document, which detailed all of the facts and history behind the CUP request and the decision to recommend denial, was accurate.

County commissioner Tom Loveall, who serves on the Planning Commission, explained he would vote for accepting the Findings of Fact document, because he felt it was an accurate depiction of all the background on the issue.

However, Loveall, who was the lone dissenting vote on the motion to recommend denial, had more to say.

“I want to make it clear I do plan on voicing my opposition to this recommendation at the County Board meeting,” Loveall told the rest of the commission members. “I will argue for the County Board to accept the request for the CUP, with conditions.”

The County Board is expected to make the final decision to authorize or deny the CUP request at their Jan. 22 meeting.

Loveall also announced Tuesday night that he will be leaving the Planning Commission as the County Board representative and commissioner Greg Young would be replacing him.

Loveall thanked the other Planning Commission members for their hard work and dedication and they in turn thanked Loveall for his years of service on the board.

At the Board of Adjustment meeting, which immediately followed the Planning Commission meeting, there were about 15 members of the public in attendance.

The issue was the distance of a setback from a road for a hog facility already under construction.

Owner Andrew Cartwright explained that he had been told by his construction company the setback in the county ordinance was 200 feet from a road.

When Cartwright learned the setback distance was actually supposed to be 250 feet, he halted construction and applied for a variance, as the building was already well under construction.

“It was an inadvertent mistake,” Cartwright said. “A flat-out honest mistake and I ask for your support for my project by giving me a variance.”

Two persons spoke in favor of the variance, who were persons involved in businesses connected to Cartwright’s operation.

Several persons also spoke against granting the variance. One was Darwin Olson of Verona Township.

“It is clearly stated in the county ordinance what the setbacks are,” Olson said. “These rules should be followed, especially in Verona Township.”

He went on to explain how Verona Township had had their own zoning ordinance with stricter setbacks, but opted to go along with the county ordinance, although there had been township citizens against getting rid of their own ordinance.

Others, including county commissioner Greg Young, also stated they felt the rules should be followed and there should be no excuse not to check the setback requirements before building.

The Board of Adjustment’s three members went through a check list before voting 2-1 in favor of granting the variance.

Board members Lola Baxter and Jim Meyer voted in favor, while board chair Morris (JR) Hanson voted against granting the variance.

This was a final decision, as it does not go to the County Board for final approval.