Worthington Ag Parts plans privacy fence in front of business
WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County Planning Commission members approved a conditional use permit during their Wednesday night meeting for Worthington Tractor Salvage Inc. (Worthington Ag Parts) to construct an 8-foot-tall chain link slatted security fence along the front of their property in the northeast quarter of Section 34, Worthington Township.
The request brought considerable discussion from planning commission members, both for and against the plan for the chain link fence.
"We appreciate Worthington Ag Parts stepping up," said commission member Mike Hoeft. "We'd like to repair a curb appeal issue that's existed for 40 or 50 years. We don't think the chain link fence will serve the purpose for longevity. I think for me, it's two issues -- the material for the fence, and I have an issue with the sight line."
Hoeft's reference to the sight line pertained to what people could see beyond the fence as they drove past the salvage yard on Minnesota 60. He suggested the fence be higher to block more of the view of the recycled implements.
"We're not ashamed of who we are and what we're offering," replied Nick Moeller, director of operations for the Worthington facility. "We're not looking to present a junk yard. That's not our image out there, that's not it going forward."
Once the new four-lane expansion of Minnesota 60 is completed in front of its property, Worthington Ag Parts will unveil a new look, with a selection of its Capello corn heads and other new implement offerings along the front of the business. The old implements used for parts recycling will be kept behind the chain link fence with slats. The fence will be set back approximately 150 feet from the center of the highway.
Mike Winter, Worthington Ag Parts president, said he thought the slats would offer "pretty good privacy" and believed the height of the fence was adequate.
"No matter how high our fence goes, you can never achieve 100 percent to hide what we've got back there," Winter said.
Planning Commission member Steve Brake said he hoped people would be watching the traffic ahead of them, rather than looking to see what is out beyond the fence.
"If they're going to replace the junk out front with new heads, I think that's what the focus is going to be on," he added.
"I drive by there two, three, four, five times a week and I don't see junk -- I see parts," added commission member Larry Hyink. "Privacy is what we're after and I think that's what we got. I think the proposal is fine."
Still, Hoeft was not convinced.
"I don't think what we have is effective," he said. "I own miles of that fence and I can tell you what the maintenance is -- it's low life and high maintenance."
Hoeft cast the lone vote in opposition to the plan for the 8-foot chain link slatted security fence. Conditions placed on the permit include that a vegetative buffer be maintained in front of the fence, that the slats in the chain link fence be maintained and that the equipment stored out front be of implement standards.
The conditional use permit will now be forwarded to the Nobles County Board of Commissioners, who will take action on the request at its Sept. 6 meeting.