WORTHINGTON — After a four-month hiatus due to lack of activity, the Nobles County Planning Commission gathered via Zoom Wednesday morning to weigh in on three requests for conditional use permits (CUPs), and one request to amend an existing CUP.

All of the requests were required to go through a public hearing, but no public comment was given during the half-hour meeting.

First on the agenda was Worthington Rendering Company (applicant) and Boyer Valley Company of Ankeny, Iowa (landowner) to request an amended CUP to allow for the construction of an enclosed receiving area onto its existing facility in Lorain Township.

“We are requesting to enclose our receiving area so that our employees are not working in the elements part of the year,” said Matt Hamilton, director of operations for the company.

With Lorain Township supporting the project, which has been discussed for the past two years, the commission gave preliminary approval for the CUP amendment.

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Jeremy Van Ede, Adrian, also received support from the commission for his request to construct a 192- by 102-foot total confinement swine barn on land in the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 9, Westside Township.

Van Ede said this will be the second barn on — and that his residence is nearest to — the site, with no other homestead within a half-mile of the barns. A CUP is required because the site will exceed 1,000 animal units.

“It is a good site and they meet all the required setbacks,” shared Feedlot Officer Mitchell Hartwig.

New Vision Co-op requested a conditional use permit for its new project in Reading, which will include construction of a 12- by 80-foot scale in an enclosed scale house along with replacement of its office building in Section 24 of Summit Lake Township. Behind the new office will be a couple of overhead load-out bins and a new grain leg.

The project received support from the commission, with one condition placed on the permit — that the project be constructed according to the plans provided.

The final request of the meeting came from Chandler Feed Company, Leota (applicant) and K-Line Properties LLC, Chandler (landowner), for a CUP to construct a 100- by 100-foot truck maintenance shop with a wash bay in the southwest corner of the southwest quarter of Section 4, Leota Township. It's the site of a former school building.

“It is nice to see a small community like this with a company that is willing to upgrade and keep a nice looking site,” said Commission member John Penning. “I think it fits very well.”

The request received initial approval from the commission, with the condition that the project be constructed according to plans provided.

All four of the requests will now advance to Nobles County commissioners on May 4 for final consideration.

Board of Variance hears two requests

Preceding the Planning Commission meeting, the Nobles County Board of Variance met to consider a pair of requests. The first, from Jeff Bullerman, Adrian, was to vary 15 feet from the required 125-foot setback from the centerline of Minnesota 91 to construct a 20- by 40-foot garage addition with living space above on his property in Section 31, Larkin Township.

Bullerman said different options were examined to create more living space, but couldn't expand to the south because of the location of the septic system, or to the east due to the close proximity of the shop. With the addition, Bullerman will need to update the septic system.

“He is asking for the minimum (variance) necessary to accomplish this request,” said Planning and Zoning Administrator Kathy Henderschiedt prior to the board’s approval of the variance.

Chad and Julie Ruiter, Leota, also sought approval for a variance to their property in Lot 7, Block 3. Their request was to vary four feet from the required 10-foot setback from the side property line to construct a 40- by 32-foot garage addition.

Julie Ruiter said with their growing family, they want to transform their existing garage into living quarters and add a new garage on the south side of their house.

The Ruiters received support for the project from neighbors on all three sides of their lot, and Alex Ossefoort, the neighbor to the east who will be most impacted by the addition, wrote a letter to Nobles County Environmental Services stating he gave his permission to the Ruiters for the addition.

With that, and no other public comment, the board approved the variance as requested.