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Hog facility CUP in Rome Twp. approved

By Staff | May 24, 2020

Faribault County commissioners approved a CUP for a hog facility proposal for Section 34 of Rome Township. Members of the township raised multiple concerns including odor and road access, but the CUP was passed.

In January of 2019, the Faribault County Board voted 4-1 to deny a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to Larry Twedt for a proposed hog facility he and his son Micah wanted to build three miles southwest of the city of Blue Earth.

At their meeting on May 19, the commissioners once again considered a CUP for a hog facility. Micah, along with Scott Legried , are proposing to construct a hog unit which would have 1,312 animal units (AU), which was the same size of the unit Larry Twedt wanted to build in 2019.

The vote of the commissioners was once again 4-1, but this time the CUP was granted.

A CUP is necessary when the number of AU exceeds 1,000 on a site. The Planning and Zoning Commission had recommended approval of the CUP on May 12, with conditions.

Planning and Zoning administrator Loria Rebuffoni was at the County Board meeting and told the commissioners the applicants already had their permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Legried and Twedt plan to build the hog unit in Section 34 of Rome Township on land owned by Legried.

Although the CUP was granted, there were many who spoke against the proposed project.

Rebuffoni read a letter from the Rome Township Board. They said as a board they were impartial but wanted to represent the worries of their constituents who had issues regarding the hog facility.

Barb Baker, who lives to the east of the proposed site, expressed concerns about

environmental issues including water and air quality.

Wayne Baker of Frost had questions about the setbacks.

“The purpose of a CUP is the use, not the setbacks,” Rebuffoni explained. “The setbacks will have to be followed when they apply for building permits.”

Peter Hendrickson questioned the economic sense of building a hog unit at this time.

“It should be built where the owner lives,” Sheryl Satre, who lives across the border in Iowa, said.

Nancy Baker, who lives in Burnsville but is staying on the farm during the COVID-19 pandemic and is planning to move back to the area, offered these thoughts.

“My main concern is if it is built, I would ask that trees be planted around the unit to help with odor control,” Baker shared. “I am also concerned about manure polluting the water.”

Another issue which came up was whether the unit’s driveway should enter directly onto County Road 17 to the east, or if the driveway should exit onto the township road to the north.

“I am concerned by the entrance on CR 17,” commissioner Greg Young stated. “It is the fourth most traveled road in the county.”

Rebuffoni stated Mark Daly, the Public Works director, did not see a problem with the unit’s driveway exiting on to CR 17.

“I don’t see the driveway coming on to CR 17 as a negative,” board member Tom Loveall agreed.

Legried addressed the people who had raised concerns at the teleconference meeting.

“I appreciate everyone’s comments and I thank you for being respectful,” Legried said. “I raised hogs and dealt with hog producers for 40 years. I want to see a young producer have a chance to stay in the county.”

Board chairman Tom Warmka offered his thoughts.

“I have always been a supporter of animal agriculture,” he remarked. “As long as this site meets all the requirements I will vote for it. To the issue of the driveway either way you have to eventually get on CR 17.”

Commissioner Bill Groskreutz gave his opinion.

“We are one of the most restrictive counties in terms of our ordinance,” Groskreutz shared. “I am inclined to vote in favor of the unit.”

Before voting on the CUP, the commissioners added two more conditions to the eight already put in place by Planning and Zoning.

The first condition was to submit proof of sealing an old well which was located on the property. This needs to be done before any building permits are approved.

The second condition added to the CUP was the requirement of a windbreak as deemed appropriate by the Soil and Water Conservation District.

Commissioners Loveall, Groskreutz, Young and Warmka voted in favor of granting the CUP. Commissioner John Roper, who represents Rome Township, voted against the CUP.