Old permits may mean feedlot loophole

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 4, 1999

County commissioners were told Tuesday that decade-old state feedlot permits could be a loophole for farmers wanting to build new structures without a county permit.

Wednesday, August 04, 1999

County commissioners were told Tuesday that decade-old state feedlot permits could be a loophole for farmers wanting to build new structures without a county permit.

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According to Assistant Freeborn County Attorney Erin O’Brien, the loophole lies with the definition of new construction.

O’Brien said permits dated back to 1988 could still be used to build earthen lagoons without a county permit.

&uot;It’s not new construction,&uot; she told commissioners, noting new construction for the sake of the county ordinance would mean any building not yet permitted.

&uot;So, we have no jurisdiction on how this lagoon is constructed?&uot; asked Commissioner Brian Jordahl.

O’Brien said the Minnesota Pollution Control permit would mean the state has already approved the planned structure, but she said she was uncertain whether new plans would be required after the delay.

Jordahl called the permits &uot;obsolete&uot; and said he would expect any new lagoons would have to meet current requirements.

&uot;You’d think they’d have to meet today’s standards,&uot; he said.

O’Brien said there would still be some county control of any structure built with old permits. All feedlots require a certificate of compliance and are required to meet state and county standards.

Because of that, she said it’s likely the construction will be up-to-date.

&uot;We’re not going to throw away everything we learned in the past 15 to 20 years about construction because these permits are 15 years old,&uot; she said.

She said some producers have already indicated they plan to reconfigure construction to use the permit, but fall under requirements for a county permit.

The county would still require a permit if 300 animal units, or 750 pigs, were added to an existing feedlot.

Because of the age of some of the MPCA permits, O’Brien said it’s hard to determine how many permits could be held in the county.

While the older permits don’t have an expiration date, she noted new permits are good for only 10 months.

In other county business, the board:

* Gave its support for an increase in license center fees, which are currently set at a $3.50 flat rate. The support was requested by the Minnesota Deputy Registrar Association. It does not mean a rate increase will take effect.

* Authorized final payment of $8,383 to Kleespie Tank and Petroleum Equipment for work on new underground storage tanks at the courthouse and county shop.

* Approved an annual agreement with Minnesota State University, Mankato, which allows nursing students to train with the Freeborn County Public Health Office.

* Agreed to extend the current Minnesota Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program Grant contract to December.

* Approved a subcontract with the Freeborn County Chemical Dependency Center to provide tobacco education to youths. The agreement provides $3,500 from the Tobacco-Free Communities of Children program.

* Authorized adjusting the sliding-fee scale for child and teen check-ups at the public health office. The adjustment is the first since 1994 and brings the cost up to a maximum of $140 when there is no other payment source available. Minimum payment would be $15 for those not eligible for medical assistance programs.

&uot;The top fee will cover our expenses,&uot; said Public Health Director Lois Ahern.

* Accepted a $67,000 bid to repair roofs damaged by hail at the Freeborn County fairgrounds. The bid also covers some extra work not included in the hail damage.

* Approved an extension of the information and referral special project being coordinated through the Community Action Agency and funded by the Family Service Collaborative. The project was set to expire in May, but will continue through December.

* Approved a $1,000 repair to county ditch 76.