A pair of conditional use permits for the construction of livestock buildings in the county were considered by the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors during their May 1, meeting. One request was approved while another request was denied by the county board.
"The Palo Alto County Planning and Zoning Commission met last night [April 30]," said Palo Alto County Zoning Administrator Joe Neary, introducing the matter to the board. "Curt Berkland is seeking a permit for an expansion on his existing building."
According to Neary, Berkland's request was for a conditional use permit to construct one 54-feet by 183-feet cattle feeding barn in Lost Island Township. The structure would have deep pit manure storage.
"Planning and Zoning recommended approval for his application," Neary shared.
With no further discussion, the Supervisors approved the request for a conditional use permit.
The next item involved a request from Mike Myer to approve a conditional use permit to construct two 101-feet 10-inches by 203-feet hog finishing barns in Rush Lake Township. The two swine finishing barns would have deep pit manure storage and would have an animal unit capacity of 1,997.
"Jimmy and Lisa Ludwig oppose the proposed site," Neary stated. "At last night's meeting the Ludwigs voiced their opposition. One of Mike Myer's neighbors did call to support the proposed site."
Neary added that the Planning and Zoning Commission voted to deny the permit since it does not meet the county's Good Neighbor Policy.
"It was moved from the first site they looked at, but it didn't eliminate all the problems for the Good Neighbor Policy, and Planning and Zoning denied the permit," said Neary. "It is a permitted site with the DNR and it has a Master Matrix."
Lisa Ludwig and Mike Myer were both in attendance at the meeting of the Board of Supervisors.
"The first location we looked at was 500-feet from my house, but I couldn't get the easements [waiver] so I moved it to a place where it met the DNR's requirements," Myer explained.
Ludwig expressed her concerns about the site." The waiver they brought over for the first site literally signed away every right we had," said Ludwig, presenting a copy of the waiver to the board. "Now, the second site is literally in my front yard. There are two other sites available to their family; I don't know why they didn't choose one of those."
"This was the only land for sale," Myer responded. "The original spot was on land we own. I couldn't build on the other because it was too close to an existing site."
Supervisor Jerry Hofstad noted that he would have to vote 'no' because of the Planning and Zoning Commission's recommendation.
"We really have very little control. We try and back up Planning and Zoning. They have a job to do," agreed Keith Wirtz, chairman of the board.
Supervisor Ron Graettinger said, "I agree with Jerry, too. We have to try and follow the Good Neighbor Policy."
"As far as that contract with the Ludwigs, that's not trying to get along," said Leo Goeders, supervisor. "How would you expect her to sign that?"
"This easement was for odors and distances, that's it. It doesn't say I can dump millions of gallons of manure," said Myer. "It's a common waiver for each one of these hog confinements. I would love to have that building go where I originally wanted it--500-feet from my house--I moved it further away than originally planned. Now, it's northeast of their house instead of straight south."
Neary noted that this area of Rush Lake Township has a fairly high density of residences and animal finishing facilities.
"There should be a limit to that," Goeders interjected.
"This will be the fourth hog confinement within one mile of my house," said Ludwig.
"I feel sorry for you," said Goeders. "I wish we could help you."
"It's really out of our hands," Wirtz concluded. "Mike has met all of the requirements of the DNR. I hope you understand we try and back up Planning and Zoning."
The board then moved to deny the permit, bringing the discussion to a close.
In other business, the Supervisors changed their regular board meeting from Tuesday, May 29 to Wednesday, May 30, due to satellite voting being conducted on May 29. The board also approved the dates for the budget amendment hearing (May 22 at 9:30 a.m.) and bid letting for Drainage District North 15 (May 30 at 10 a.m.). Finally, the Supervisors granted a liquor license for Spring Hills Country Club in Mallard.