By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Tuesday, the Morrison County Commissioners gave approval to the application for amendment to the existing conditional use permit (CUP) held by Robert and Ann Hennen for their Tier IV Feedlot at 26939 83rd Street, Pierz. This is currently the only Hennen operation in Morrison County.
The amendment came before the County Board again after the Court of Appeals ordered the county to grant the CUP with reasonable conditions. The original amendment application was denied Oct. 26, 2010.
The approval was contingent on 14 conditions which were formulated by County Administrator Deb Gruber, Zoning Administrator Amy Kowalzek and County Attorney Brian Middendorf.
The amendment requested the removal of a condition that limited the number of animal units on the feedlot to 1,499.
Attorney Scott Anderson explained that the CUP as granted to the Hennens previously had required a cap of 1,499 animal units, because that was the 2007 cap for Tier IV Feedlots. Since then, the cap was increased to 2,500, and the Hennens want the CUP amended to reflect that.
The amendment’s conditions include notifying property owners within a radius of one-quarter mile of any manure application site at least one week prior to the expected application.
The permit holder will submit a Morrison County Good Neighbor Plan when any expansion of the facility is proposed. There is currently no Good Neighbor Plan on file with the County.
All notifications from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to the CUP holder must be submitted to the County Feedlot Officer within seven days of receipt.
If the feedlot expands beyond 2,000 animal units, the permit holder will be required to plant and maintain vegetative screening of six to eight rows of trees, the details of which will be determined by the County Planning and Zoning Department.
Buckman Mayor Bob Lochner asked, “At what point does this stop?”
Anderson said, “Based on the ordinance, it will cap at 2,500.”
“When the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) tests were conducted, they were northeast of Buckman on a day when the wind was from the northeast,” said Commissioner Don Meyer. “They could just as well have been in Flensburg for all the good it did.”
“Prevailing winds in the summer are from the south and southeast and there is such a nasty smell from the feedlot that people can’t hang clothes outside, they can’t enjoy their decks,” Meyer said. “There are other large operations in the area that do not have these problems.”
“The Hennen operation is large enough that only the land use issues come before the County Board. The operational feedlot issues are controlled by the MPCA,” said Gruber.
“The conditions as now listed on the permit give the county recourse in the event they are not being met in the future,” said Middendorf. “And we are making sure that everyone in the neighborhood can take part in the MPCA permitting process.”
Morrison County Board of Commissioners Briefs
Other business that came before the Morrison County Commissioners included:
• Receiving recognition from the Initiative Foundation of past and future partnership to make a thriving community. Commissioner Tom Wenzel said, “You’re thanking us for what we do, but we get that back a hundredfold;”
• Approving the Social Services Department’s requested grant application to the federal government on behalf of Northern Pines to staff a position at the Morrison County Jail;
• Heard Corinne Bjork’s report about the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP), formerly called Food Stamps. There is no longer an asset limit and 60 percent of people served are working people with an average $1,400 per month income. Administrator Deb Gruber commended the Social Services Department for handling the drastic increase in that program with no increase in staffing;
• Approving the 2012 seasonal establishment licenses for Pine Grove Zoo in Little Falls, Pine Ridge Golf Course in Motley, Silo Ice Cream in Motley and Pierz Municipal Campground and Clubhouse;
• Authorizing the Home and Community-based Waiver Services contract with Beyond Barriers Minneapolis LLC in effect from March 27 through Dec. 31, 2013;
• Renewing the consumption and display permits for the Falls Ballroom in Little Falls and St. Joseph Parish Hall in Morrill;
• Agreeing to schedule a public hearing for the proposed creation of tax increment financing plan for District 3-4 for Morrison County and the Royalton School District, at 9:30 a.m. during the Tuesday, May 8 board meeting;
• Hearing an annual member report from Jane Henagir of Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT). Eighty-one of 87 counties in Minnesota participate in MCIT, which is an intergovernmental risk-sharing pool. In 2011, $308,000 in dividends came back to the county;
• Approving an agreement between Morrison County and Two Rivers Township for replacement of bridge #L-5991, one mile east of the city of Bowlus on 40th Street;
• Learning of the request of Fishtrap Lake homeowners to close a railroad crossing across the lake, for a public meeting to be held Thursday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Scandia Valley Township Hall;
• Authorizing payment to Stearns Electric for installation of service at the new storage and maintenance building in Randall;
• Authorizing Central Planes Aviation to conduct aerial spraying throughout the county for army worms and tent caterpillars;
• Authorizing the board chairman and the county administrator to enter into a lease agreement with the state of Minnesota for the Driver Examination Office in the historic courthouse. The three-year lease ends April 30, 2015 at a rate of $12,410; and
• Approving acceptance of the Tri City Paving bid for this year’s county road maintenance and repair at just more than $4.4 million. That bid is 3.70 percent more than the engineer’s estimate, and within 1.4 percent of the next two higher bidders.