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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Two Conditional Use Permits Approved

  • The commissioners have agreed to open up the existing feedlot ordinance for amendment, enacting a moratorium on the expansion of existing feedlots. Following a public hearing and proper notification of residents of the county, the commissioners will look at section eight of the ordinance.
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  • The Watonwan County Board accepted the applications for two separate conditional use permits at the regularly scheduled Tuesday, April 16 meeting.
    Conditional use permit one was for the mining, hauling and stockpiling of aggregates, clay and topsoil in section one of St. James Township. The application was applied for by Ladd Demolition and Aggregates, LLC.
    Ladd Demolition and Aggregates already own a plot of land next to the land in question which they use to mine aggregates, clay and topsoil. The application was to expand their conditional use permit to include a newly purchased thirty acres of land.
    The Watonwan County Board approved the conditional use permit with two added conditions to the planning committee’s recommendations. One, adequate dust control measures are taken on heavily used roads by Ladd Demolition and Aggregates. Two, the road be maintained by Ladd Demolition and Aggregates to maintain a condition equal to that which they found it.
    The second conditional use permit was for a swine feed lot in South Branch township section 18. This application was applied for by Schwartz Farms, Inc.
    Unlike the previous two feedlot conditional use permit applications this year, the Schwartz Farms, Inc. feedlot made its way to the county board without any further recommended conditions.
    The proposed feedlot is 3,700 feet from the nearest residences, but the question how many feedlots are too many feedlots was asked once again during the meeting. This question was answered by the planning commission as such: the density issue has been dealt with by the half mile set back in place in the ordinance – which is larger than in other counties.
    Two conditions were added before the conditional use permit was granted. One, the addition of additive “odor abatement” is required in the feedlot.
    This is a condition Commissioner Dave Holmgren said was necessary because they had been requiring other feedlots to follow similar conditions. The second was that trees be reintroduced to the site. All trees were cleared to make room for the feedlot, but Commissioner Scott Sanders feels trees are important in blocking some of the smells from escaping the area.
    The commissioners have agreed to open up the existing feedlot ordinance for amendment, enacting a moratorium on the expansion of existing feedlots. Following a public hearing and proper notification of residents of the county, the commissioners will look at section eight of the ordinance.
    Don Mackey addressed the Watonwan County Board about an Eagles Gambling Permit being issued for pull tabs at the golf course.
    Klarice Rinne also applied for a liquor license for use at the golf course. Both requests were approved unanimously.
    Next, Sheriff Gary Menssen presented two quotes for the county board’s approval.
    The county purchased a 180 foot antenna that had been in use in Jackson County for $400.
    Page 2 of 2 - The antenna is being installed to boost the transmission in St. James and Madelia police districts. The installation was bid out to Sabre Industries for $10,589 to install a concrete foundation and another $13,765 to erect the tower itself.
    The installation of a BDA device will cost the county another $95,518.73 and was bid out to Fiplex Engineering. The purchase and installation of all of these signal boosting entities was approved unanimously.
    The tower will be built at the compost site northeast of St. James. Additional antenna will be installed in the police department headquarters for about $1,000 each and a small shack is also planned to be built to store the equipment near the antenna.
    Commissioner Kathleen Svalland said the fire departments in Ormsby and St. James have also been having difficulty with reception in their fire halls, but it has already been suggested to them that they install a similar antenna for the $1,000 with a cable running into their hall for reception.
    Because the tower is under 200 feet and outside of the fly zone, it does not require a permit or lights to be installed.
    Public Works Director Roger Risser gave his usual authorized work for others report before presenting bids received for CSAH 16 reconstruction to the Watonwan County Board Tuesday.
    The county board accepted the low bid from R and G Construction Co., though there was some hesitancy from Commissioner Ray Gustafson.
    “I have a little concern since we haven’t done business with them before,” said Gustafson. “I’d prefer it if we had references.”
    Auditor Don Kuhlman said the county has worked with R and G Construction before in the late 80s and early 90s, and that they are a company that has been around for a long period of time. R and G Construction does a lot of work in the Marshal area, where they are based.
    The R and G Construction Bid came in more than $250,000 under the engineers estimate at $714,888.30.
    Other Business:
    Signed a Minnesota Counties resolution requesting more transportation funding.
    Hired an Engineering Technician unanimously.
    Hired a Light Equipment Operator by a 4-1 vote, with Ray Gustafson opposing.
    Accepted IEA proposal for assessment and sampling of Watonwan County Human Services Building for $2,100 to $2,500.
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