Commissioners deny big hog lot

Published 9:23 am Thursday, June 19, 2008

Due to insufficient roadways and the potential for flooding, the Freeborn County Board of Commissioners stopped a hog lot from building in London Township.

The commissioners Tuesday did not approve a conditional-use permit for Adams Minnesota Farms to build a total-confinement hog barn in the northwest corner of London Township.

The proposed dimensions were 51 feet by 392 feet with a poured, reinforced concrete manure storage pit. It would have housed 2,400 hogs between 55 and 300 pounds.

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Neighbors spoke up with concerns about flood elevation but Planning and Zoning Administrator Wayne Sorensen said the top of the barn is seven feet above the 100-year flood zone. For the manure pit to be submerged under water, he said, there would have to be a flood of “biblical proportion.”

“There is some high elevation ponding in the fields,” he said. However, the standing water is not part of a stream level.

The Planning Commission recommended approval for this permit, but Commissioner Chris Shoff said he voted against it at the Planning Commission meeting.

“I believe the site is in the wrong spot,” said Commissioner Dan Belshan.

He showed pictures of a gravel road — 130th Street — leading to the proposed site, illustrating how narrow the road is and how it retains water even after little rain.

“That road has always been a problem,” Belshan said.

“It seems we may need to place this in a different site. We may need to look at a different site,” he said.

Commissioner Jim Nelson said his main concern was the road leading to the proposed location.

“It’s bad,” he said. “I’m more worried about that than anything.”

A county engineer was expected to look at 130th Street Tuesday afternoon. An option was proposed for Adams Minnesota Farms to provide rock for the road, which the company was willing to do.

Another proposed location off 130th Street would come into issue with setbacks from potential neighboring homes.

Commissioners Belshan, Shoff and Nelson voted against the permit. Commissioner Mark Behrends and Chairman Glen Mathiason voted for the permit.

In other business, the board:

– Approved a request from Peterson Excavating for a demolition debris and crushing operation at 24302 755th Ave. in Albert Lea across from Good Samaritan Society.

– Approved amendments to the Individual Sewage Treatment System loan program ordinance.

A denial letter from a bank or other lending institution now needs to be included in the application to make sure the loans go to the people most in need.

– Did not approve Bill Lyle to install a second driveway to his 260-acre field in Oakland Township. This would have saved 1 1/2 miles of driving with every load of corn, according to Lyle.

A new driveway would make a total of two within 500 feet, which is against practice within the county, Mathiason said.

County Engineer Sue Miller said it was offered to Lyle to move the original driveway to the requested location at no cost to him.

– Reviewed the Web site, which gives information on the county’s lakes and the status of use for Fountain Lake. Sheriff Mark Harig requested the Web site be linked from the county’s Web site.

– Approved adding a resolution to the July 1 meeting agenda in support of a high-speed railway to follow the Interstate 35 corridor south from the Twin Cities to Albert Lea and then go east to Chicago. The railway being discussed in the state is proposed to go from the Twin Cities to Rochester and then to Chicago.

– Approved repairs to County Ditch J-22.