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Gravel pit under review after dust complaints

WORTHINGTON -- A gravel pit in Westside Township that was permitted for six years came under review Wednesday night by the Nobles County Planning and Zoning Commission after neighbors complained about a lack of dust control and maintenance to the township roads its gravel trucks travel.

Nobles County Environmental Services Director Wayne Smith explained that gravel pits typically are reviewed after three years, and the Scott Henning pit located on the LeRoy Van Kley property in the southwest quarter of Section 19, Westside Township, was due for review this year.

Smith also said several people had called in or written complaints after receiving notification of the review process.

Ryan Henning, Adrian, went before the commission Wednesday night to respond to the complaints.

He said he has been working to get dust control material placed on the road their trucks travel, but weather, among other reasons has delayed the action.

"They've got to help maintain these roads better than what they are," said Steve Ashby, who lives a half-mile south of the gravel pit and serves on the Westside Township Board. "There's no dust control."

Ryan Henning said a lot of gravel was hauled from the pit earlier this year because of the new facility New Vision Cooperative is building near Magnolia.

Because of restricted bridges in two directions, trucks were hauling primarily one route to the west and causing a steady stream of dust for individuals living along that road.

Smith said there hasn't been a lot of hauling in that direction in the past 30 days.

"You can tell by the conversation tonight that something needs to be done," he said, explaining that when state or federal projects require gravel from a pit, dust control measures along the entire route are included in the contract. Private businesses requiring gravel typically don't include stipulations for dust control, he added.

Ryan Henning assured commission members that dust control would be taken care of.

"We all have to make a living in this area and I don't want this to be a constant battle," he said.

Smith said he thought the Hennings had a workable plan and would solve the issues, knowing their permit could be revoked at any time.

The conditional use permit will continue as previously stated, with an added condition that they do more to control the dust.

In other action, the commission approved conditional use permits for:

* Randy Kruger, Brewster, to operate a dog kennel in the south half of the northeast quarter and the north half of the southeast quarter of Section 15, Hersey Township. The Krugers have raised Boxer dogs onsite for the past eight or nine years and were unaware they needed a permit. Nobles County has an ordinance requiring dog kennels be permitted. Since there had been no issues reported with the business, the commission approved the permit without any conditions.

* Marty Weiss, Adrian, to construct an 82- by 200-foot hog finishing barn with a concrete pit below in the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter and the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 17, Olney Township. With the addition of the building, the farm site, which also includes feeder cattle, will reach more than 1,000 animal units and be required to obtain a permit through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Nobles County Feedlot Officer Alan Langseth reported the application has been approved by the state.

Conditions placed on the permit include that manure from the site be incorporated, the good neighbor policy be adhered to and that there be a place for dead animal containment.

Earlier in the evening, Weiss received permission from the Board of Adjustment to vary 15 feet from the required 100-foot setback.

All three requests that went before the Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday night will now advance to the Nobles County Board for final approval at their June 5 meeting.

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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