WORTHINGTON -- The Nobles County Planning Commission Wednesday night approved the first step in the permitting process for Lynch Livestock to move from its present site along Worthington's southeast beltline to a new location along Minnesota 60, northeast of Worthington.

Seth Darling, who oversees the local operations for the temporary hog housing business, said moving from the long-time livestock sales pavilion grounds was necessitated by the Minnesota 60 four-lane expansion project.

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"It's pushing us back and (reducing) access for trucks to get in," Darling told commission members.

The company's owner, Gerald Lynch of Waucoma, Iowa, has applied for a conditional use permit to construct a new 101- by 200-foot total confinement barn in the southwest quarter north and west of the railroad tracks in Section 4, Lorain Township.

"Hogs are going to be in and out of there in two to three days," said Darling, adding that the facility will be similar in design to a 2,400-head swine finishing barn. The business buys underweight hogs direct from farmers and then markets them for slaughter.

"We chose this location because it would be great for trucks," Darling said. "The majority of the loads come in off Highway 60."

Nobles County Environmental Services Director Wayne Smith explained to the commission that since the existing site was permitted as a sale barn, and the new building will not be designed in that manner, it was necessary for the business to request a conditional use permit.

Darling said, on average, there will be 500 to 600 head of hogs in the confinement barn on a daily basis. The barn will be tunnel-ventilated with fans on the east side and curtains on the west, and manure will be pumped once a year in the fall.

Laurie Abels, who lives near the proposed building site, spoke out against the location in a five-page letter she submitted to the planning commission. She was on hand Wednesday night to make sure the letter was received and offer concerns about the smell.

In the letter, signed by both Laurie and her husband, Gary, questions were raised not only about the odors, but traffic safety with trucks coming and going from the site daily, the potential for well contamination, manure storage, dead animal containment and the prospect for rodents if Lynch Livestock continues to host weekly hay sales.

Darling addressed some of the concerns, saying dead animals are retained in a cement pen and picked up daily from the site. Also, he said there will be no bedding stored outside, and the hay sales will be discontinued once the move is made.

"We don't want the slow-moving vehicles on Highway 60," Darling said. "There will be no hay sales there."

As for the odors, Darling said pit additives are available to help control odors.

"I want to be a good neighbor," he said. "If that's what it takes is to put pit remedy in there, I'll do it."

Nobles County Feedlot Officer Alan Langseth addressed concerns about groundwater, saying that manure will be stored in an underground pit with no possibility to contaminate the soil or nearby wells.

Commissioners approved the first phase of the permitting process by setting several conditions on the permit, including that perimeter tile be installed around the confinement barn, that there be dead animal containment, manure be injected by the farmer who will be getting it, and that Lynch Livestock adhere to the county's good neighbor policy.

A request for final approval of the permit will be made to the Nobles County Board of Commissioners during its Sept. 6 meeting. At that time, the board will also take action on the following permit requests approved by the planning commission.

Those requests include:

* A conditional use permit for Kent Slater, rural Rushmore, to construct a 56- by 300-foot calf barn, and replace a 44- by 64-foot livestock barn with either a machine shed or commodity shed in the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 2, Larkin Township.

Slater lost a nursery barn to fire earlier this year. He will shift his operation from raising 700 nursery pigs to raising 300 calves.

Because the parcel is located less than a mile from the Wilmont city limits, Slater was required to obtain a conditional use permit. He said the Wilmont City Council had no concerns about the building plans. Also, in a meeting by the Nobles County Board of Adjustment earlier Wednesday, Slater was granted a variance for the calf barn to be closer to two sides of his property.

Conditions placed on the permit include that Slater provide dead animal containment on the site and adhere to the good neighbor policy.

* A conditional use permit for Shellie Lynn, rural Adrian, to operate an extended home business from property in the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 10, Westside Township. Lynn will sell antiques and collectibles from the site. No conditions were placed on the permit.