Couple denied variance to build new home in Leota

Nobles County Board of Adjustment approved, however, a request for an underground grain pit near Brewster.

Nobles_County_Logo 1.jpg

WORTHINGTON — The Nobles County Board of Adjustment approved a variance for an underground grain pit in rural Brewster but denied one for a new home in Leota on Wednesday.

Randy Landhuis, owner of the lot located at 11020 Beckering Ave. in Leota, spoke in favor of a variance to allow Julie Pater and Timothy Haugen to build a home closer to the road than the county’s required 100-foot setback. They hoped to build 71 feet from the center of the road to the slab of the porch, or 77 feet to the edge of the structure.

Orienting the home that way would allow it to face Beckering Avenue, like the other buildings in the area, and it would also allow for easier hookups to the water and sewer lines. Other buildings in the area are as little as 52 feet or 60 feet from the center of the road, Landhuis said.

“Variances may be granted when the applicants demonstrate there are practical difficulties in complying” with the county requirements, said County Attorney Joe Sanow. “Economic reasons alone, by themselves, are not enough to justify a definition of practical difficulties. In my legal opinion, it would be difficult to establish a practical difficulty when the lot was vacant…”

As designed, the home could be built on the lot, but it would have to be oriented in a different direction. Another option would be to change the design.


Landhuis said orienting the building in such a way as to obey the 100-foot setback would create a difficult way to get in the front door.

The request was denied 2-1, with John Penning and Ron McCarvel prevailing over Bruce Hill.

“Thank you folks. Sorry,” Penning said to Landhuis, Pater and Haugen.

Underground grain pit approved

The board also received a variance request from Mike Kunerth, of Brewster, who wanted to vary from the required 80-foot setback from the center line of a township road for the construction of a grain pit at 14963 Roberts Ave.

“Our situation is a little unique, if you will,” Kunerth said, explaining that the farm had been in the family since 1886, and the homestead had been moved. A set of bins in the back of the property had likely been added sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s, he said, but since then, a more modern grain site was built further south, with multiple large bins and an air system moving grain from the dryer to the cooling bin.

The proposed 10-foot-wide by 20-foot-long underground pit will function as a receiving area where grain can be dumped quickly and stored temporarily, before being moved into a bin.

One neighbor offered up a public comment in favor of the Kunerth request, pointing out that the bin wouldn’t be any closer to the road than the propane tanks.

The board voted unanimously to approve the variance.



A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Phone: (507) 376-7319
What To Read Next
Get Local