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Planning & Zoning board hears multiple requests for permits

WORTHINGTON --Nobles County Planning and Zoning Commission members addressed five requests for permits through the county's land use ordinance, and another request for a conditional use permit Wednesday night, kicking off a busy stretch for the commission, which hasn't met since January. Already, three out of the four Wednesday nights in April are earmarked to hear requests for construction projects.

The meeting began with a request from Mitchell Lynn of Lismore to construct a 66- by 303-foot deep-pitted livestock barn to house 600 head of cattle on a three-acre tract in the southwest corner of the southeast quarter of Section 9, Lismore Township. Brad Lynn, Mitchell's father, appeared before the commission to discuss the scope of the project, and said the barn will be built within three-eighths of a mile from his home. He said a manure management plan has already been submitted to the state, and the family has the available land to utilize the manure collected from the storage pit. The pit will be emptied once per year. Lynn said cattle will be brought in weighing approximately 900 pounds, and will leave the facility at 1,400 to 1,500 pounds.

No comments were made during the public hearing; however Nobles County Environmental Services staff received a letter from a neighbor who was concerned about the source of the water for the feedlot. Lynn was told he will need to contact the Department of Natural Resources for a water permit. That process will reveal if the well dug by Lynn is accessing the same aquifer as the neighbor, thereby causing a negative impact to the neighbor's well.

Commissioners approved the request, dependent upon DNR permit approval.

In other action, commissioners:

* Approved a request made by David and Ann Mills to construct a new non-farm residence in Lot 7, Block 1 of the Ocheda Heights Addition in Section 10, Bigelow Township. The request was required to come before the planning and zoning commission because the home will be built within one mile of an existing feedlot.

* Approved a request from Brian Lindeman, Rushmore, to expand by 10 acres an existing gravel pit and continue to operate a hot mix plant in the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 24, Little Rock Township. R&G Construction is utilizing the gravel in construction of the Minnesota 60 expansion project. Commissioners applied the same conditions as those on the initial 10-acre gravel pit. Those conditions include the county be notified each year when pit use begins, that noxious weeds and dust be controlled, and that onsite meetings with the weed inspector and environmental services director be conducted. The conditional use permit is good for six years, with a biannual review.

* Approved a conditional use permit review for Reker Construction, Adrian, applicant for Ray Braun, landowner, to continue operation of a gravel pit permit in the southwest quarter of Section 35, Little Rock Township. The same conditions as noted in the initial permit will apply at the site.

* Approved a six-year land use permit for Reker Construction, Adrian, applicant for Rodney Scheidt, landowner, for mining and excavating gravel in the southeast corner of the southeast quarter of Section 5, Olney Township. Gary Reker said he will not mine gravel from the site, but rather will clean up the material that has already been processed there. No public comments were given related to the request. Environmental Services Director Wayne Smith said the site was first permitted in 1973 and is one of the deepest pits in Nobles County.

* Tabled a request from Reker Construction, Adrian, applicant for Ronald Wiertzema, landowner, for mining and excavating gravel on a two acre parcel in the northwest corner of the northwest quarter of Section 25, Little Rock Township. Due to a dispute regarding land rights to the pit, Nobles County Attorney Kathleen Kusz recommended the applicant consult a probate attorney.

With the exception of the request that was tabled, all other action taken by the Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday will now advance to the Nobles County Board of Commissioners on April 17 for final action.

Prior to the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, members of the Nobles County Zoning Board of Adjustment met to consider a request for Trent Slater, Rushmore, to vary 60 feet from a required 100-foot setback from the east property line. Slater recently purchased an acreage and wants to erect a 60- by 304-foot bedded barn to house 350 head of cattle. The parcel is located in the west three-quarters of the northwest quarter of Section 13, Larkin Township.

Wayne Smith, county environmental services director, said Slater's request is not unusual because acreages were often smaller tracts of land.

"Now, you put a machine shed or a good-sized livestock facility in there and you're bumping up too close to the property line," Smith said. "He did the best job he could of fitting it in."

Slater said cattle will come in to the facility weighing approximately 250 pounds and will leave at approximately 500 pounds. There was no neighborhood opposition to the request.

Board of Adjustment members approved the request.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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