The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors considered a conditional use permit and site plan for a pair of hog finishing buildings in Ellington Township.
Summit Farms LLC requested approval of a conditional use permit to construct two 51-feet by 352-feet hog finishing barns in the southeast quarter of Section 32 of Ellington Township. The two swine finishing barns would feature deep pit manure storage and have an Animal Unit Capacity of 1,760.
"Planning and Zoning met last night [July 2] here at the courthouse," began Joe Neary, Palo Alto County Zoning Administrator. "We approved the Summit site, called the Brinks site, a month ago. The last site was an old cattle feeding operation down off the road about 400- or 500-feet, but a decision was made to move it."
Scott Henry with Summit Farms explained, "Our intent with the original site was that there was open ground where we could go in and set things up, but when we were going through the DNR permit process, the DNR has a 100-year storm event area. The corners of this building were in that area. We knew there were other sites on this farm that were better for the environment and would actually improve our Matrix score, so we withdrew the original permit."
According to Henry, the site has been moved to the south and west, placing it on higher ground.
"There is a waiver with this site," Neary informed the board.
Henry explained that although the site does not contain a residence, Dean Christiansen does have a shop at the location where he works on projects.
"We wanted to be sure he was okay with everything, and he was," Henry said. "We did not need a waiver signed because there is no residence, but we wanted to make sure he knew what we were doing, so we had him sign one anyway so he knows and supports it."
Supervisor Jerry Hofstad asked, "So, it meets everything and you guys approved it?"
Neary replied, "That's correct. The points have been verified on the Master Matrix and it meets the Good Neighbor Policy."
"This site is actually pretty remote," said Supervisor Keith Wirtz, Chairman of the board.
The conditional use permit was unanimously approved.
Supervisor Ed Noonan asked how many acres Summit Farms owns in Palo Alto County.
"In Palo Alto County, I'm not sure. Most of our land is in Pocahontas County in the northern part of the county," said Henry.
"In the past we've encouraged Summit Farms to spend money locally in Palo Alto County," Wirtz noted.
"We appreciate you guys addressing that and bringing it up," Henry stated. "We want to make sure that we're being good neighbors, as well, and that we're doing the right thing. We'd be happy to take quotes from people who do dirt work and from those in the business and are looking for work. The problem is we don't always know who's in the business."
"That's what we understand. I guess we need to inform our contractors," said Wirtz, bringing the discussion to a close.