County Board has heated discussion on CUPs

By Liz Verley, Staff Writer

Five requests for a variety of conditional use permits (CUP) garnered a sometimes heated discussion among the Morrison County Commissioners, Tuesday.

All five of the requests had been recommended for approval by the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission. All five County Board members had attended the previous Planning Commission meeting and knew the recommendations for approval would be coming to Tuesday’s meeting

Before a recommendation is made by the commission, it must determine a variety of issues. They include, but are not limited to:

1. The requested use will not create an unreasonably excessive burden on existing roads or other utilities because the roadway is inadequate to handle the traffic generated.

2. The requested use is compatible with surrounding area and will not depreciate nearby properties.

3. The structure and use shall have an appearance that will not have an unreasonable adverse effect on nearby property.

4. The requested use, in the opinion of the Planning Commission, is reasonably related to existing land use and environment with proposed conditions.

5. The requested use is consistent with the county’s land use control ordinance and not in conflict with the county’s comprehensive plan.

6. The request will not create an unreasonable adverse effect because of noise, odor, glare or general unsightliness for nearby property owners.

A request came from Nathan and Cassie Baum to establish an outdoor recreation area specifically for boarding horses and to host horse show events.

The Baums own and live on 39 acres in Agram Township. The parcel is zoned shoreland residential. Frieze Lake is within 1,000 feet of their property.

Planning and Zoning became aware of saddle club activities while following up on a sign violation.

The Baums requested an after-the-fact CUP for the operation of horse shows on the property up to four times a year and to board a limited number of horses throughout the year.

Commissioner Don Meyer expressed his displeasure over the fact that after the Planning Commission meeting was over, Commissioner Kevin Maurer requested that Helen McLennan from Morrison County Soil and Water Conservation conduct a site visit.

“I am insulted by this kind of action. This site is in my district. It is common courtesy that I should have been informed of this. I thought we had addressed this on Monday. Why are you always the expert?” said Meyer.

“I am not the expert. I had concerns about the wetlands on the property,” said Maurer.

Board Chair Jeff Jelinski quickly called for order and the meeting continued.

McLennan said she had been asked to visit the property to determine if a buffer between the site and the wetlands was needed.

It was suggested that if the manure was not stockpiled near the wetlands there would be no buffer needed.

It was also determined that if the pasture land was not kept green the property would have to fall under feedlot regulations. The Baums agreed to both suggestions.

The CUP was approved with various conditions including: no stockpiling of manure, a cap of 25 horses on the property, set hours for horse show events, etc.

Concern over the noise that might be generated by a wood dryer fan, tabled a request for a CUP from Wayne and Sandra Lease. The Leases would like to establish a wood products manufacturer, specifically for a wood grinding facility.

The Leases live and own a 99-acre parcel in Buh Township. They propose to build a 60-foot by 80-foot building to establish a wood shaving production facility. The shavings would be marketed for animal bedding.

Logs would be hauled to the property and stored outside until they are ground into shavings inside of the building. The dryer would be inside the facility but would have a fan vented to the outside.

“I am not comfortable knowing how much noise is going to be made,” said Meyer.

The request from the Leases was tabled for two weeks pending more information on how loud the dryer fan will be.

Other CUPs approved included:

Leo and Daniel Raab to establish a wood product manufacturer specifically for the production of cabinets. Leo is the present owner of the property and intends to sell five acres to Daniel. Daniel proposes to construct a 60-foot by 90- foot structure. A 60-foot by 60-foot portion of the structure would be used as a cabinet shop and the remaining portion a dwelling. The cabinets would all be produced indoors.

James Koetter and Geronimo Wind Energy requested a permit to establish a solar farm. Koetter owns and lives on 138 acres in Little Falls Township. Plans call for Lindy Solar to construct, own and operate the facility which would encompass about 70 acres. The project will include 300 watt photo voltaic solar panels, centralized inverters and fixed tilt racking. The panels will be approximately 10 feet high.

The final request will allow Curtis Theis and Jeffrey Skroch to expand their current feedlot to a tier two beef lot by increasing the number of cattle on site and constructing a 100-foot by 250-foot confinement barn. The site presently has 54 animal units and the CUP allows up to 650 animal units. The property is owned by Skroch and is located in Buckman Township.