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County Board CUP challenged

By Staff | Jun 22, 2020

On May 19 the Faribault County Commissioners approved a conditional use permit (CUP) for a hog facility which is to be constructed in Section 34 of Rome Township.

But a coalition of people, led by Barbara Baker of Frost, is seeking to put a stop to the unit.

During the public comment portion of their virtual meeting on Tuesday, June 16, the commissioners once again heard from Baker regarding the CUP.

“I am asking for the revocation of the CUP,” Baker stated.

She listed a number of concerns and said the applicants did not follow the “good neighbor policy” because the applicants did not visit with the surrounding neighbors before going ahead with the project.

Baker also presented petitions on behalf of the Rome Township Coalition and the city of Rake, Iowa, which stated their opposition to the facility because of concerns of possible smell and contamination of well water.

  • Board chairman Tom Warmka asked county attorney Kathryn Karjala to address the situation.

“The board cannot act on this request at this time,” Karjala said.

She explained the matter would have to be appealed to the courts.

“We will do that,” Baker responded.

Public Works director Mark Daly also took part in the virtual meeting and informed the commissioners the repair of the bridge in Verona Township, located on 165th Street, which the board approved during their June 2 meeting, will not happen anytime soon.

“This took me by surprise,” Daly commented. “We had approval from District Seven but the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Central Office will not allow us to use Town Bridge funds to do the repair.”

Daly was asked why MnDOT made that ruling.

“The reason they gave was they wanted a more permanent repair,” Daly replied. “We will now move the bridge repair into the five-year plan.”

Concerns were then raised as to when the bridge would be worked on.

“Does that mean it will be five years before it is replaced?” commissioner Greg Young asked.

Daly explained it was up to the discretion of the commissioners.

“I can try and fit it into our five-year plan wherever you want,” he explained.

The discussion then moved from bridges to talking about the five-year plan for fixing roads. The board wondered which road was scheduled to be worked on next year.

“The top two roads on the list for reconstruction are County Road 16 going west from Blue Earth to the county line,” Daly shared. “And County Road 29 north out of Wells to the county line.”

Daly was asked the approximate cost of each project.

“County Road 16 will be about $3.7 million and County Road 29 will come in at an estimated $2.5 million,” Daly said.

He told the board he would send out a list of the top 10 roads in the county which need to be worked on.

“I do not have a big concern over which one goes first,” commissioner Tom Loveall stated. “I will leave that up to the staff to figure out.”

Daly also brought up a lighting system proposal to place lights at the intersections of U.S. Highway 169 and County State Aid Highway 2 and Highway 169 and CSAH 18.

“The cost of doing this is $25,00030,000 per intersection,” Daly told the board. “But MnDOT will pay for the installation, which is two lights at each intersection. The county has to pay the light bill of about $30 per month per intersection and other maintenance costs.”

The board approved the proposal for the lights.

In his last item of business Daly mentioned the temporary outdoor dining permits which were discussed at the previous meeting were no longer necessary because indoor seating is now allowed under Phase III of the Stay Safe plan issued by the governor.

Central Services director Lexi Scholten also had some public works business for the board to consider.

“We have offered the parks manager job to Bryce Werner and he has accepted so I need the board approval for the hire,” Scholten said.

The board gave unanimous approval for the hiring of Werner as the parks manager. His start date is June 24.

In their final business of the day the board voted to accept a geographic information system (GIS) grant from the state of Minnesota in the amount of $17,594.95.

Sheriff Mike Gormley joined the meeting and explained the purpose of the grant.

“It will be used to update the GIS data in the county,” Gormley explained. “We have done a good job of staying on top of things so our grant is actually smaller than other counties who have more work to do.”