WORTHINGTON — The Nobles County Planning Commission gave preliminary approval during its meeting Wednesday for Zachary Schmitz to operate a business from a machine shop at 26605 Sundberg Ave., Worthington.

Schmitz, owner of Schmitz Machine, fabricates parts or new machines for several local businesses, including Bedford Industries, Newport Laboratories, AGCO and HitchDoc. He signed a rental agreement with Susanne Murphy to rent a vacant shop on her property, but until a request was made to the county to install a sign along Nobles County 35 for the business, neither Schmitz nor Murphy realized they needed to obtain a conditional use permit for the business.

Murphy had a conditional use permit on the property when she owned and operated Worthington Excavating, and assumed that was still in place.

Nobles County Planning and Zoning Administrator Kathy Henderschiedt, however, said that once a business has been closed for a year or more, a new permit must be issued.

“The business has been void for five years,” Henderschiedt said, adding that the new business is also a different type of use, which would also warrant the need for a new permit.

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Murphy said Schmitz doesn’t have the equipment or the number of employees that Worthington Excavating had.

“There’s little or no traffic compared to the excavating company,” Henderschiedt told commission members. “I think it’s a great location, and I don’t anticipate any concerns from anyone. I definitely support the request.”

Schmitz said he receives a delivery of raw material — everything from aluminum and titanium to plastic and other materials — about once a week to the site via semi. Fabricated items are much smaller and usually leave the site on a pallet and smaller truck, he added.

As for signage, county ordinance states that a sign can be placed along the road, but has to be moved once every 180 days. There is already a sign at the intersection of Sundberg Avenue and Nobles County 35 to direct people to the New Beginnings garden center on Sundberg Avenue. That sign is on a moveable wagon, which is moved twice a year, Henderschiedt said.

Schmitz said he’s already been in contact with Paul and LeAnn Langseth regarding the location of his moveable sign.

With the Planning Commission’s approval of the request for a conditional use permit, it will now advance to the Nobles County Board of Commissioners for consideration at its June 8 meeting.