Conditional use permits and a rezoning issue was on the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors meeting agenda Tuesday, June 10.
Palo Alto County Zoning Officer Joe Neary reported that the county's Planning and Zoning Commission met on Monday, June 9, to consider four issues and to receive public comment. After the commission meets, the county board of supervisors is given the opportunity to approve or deny the requests.
Jeff Joyce originally filed a request to rezone eight acres or less in the East half of Section 4 T97N-R33W Walnut Township. The site is located along 425th Avenue north of the Graettinger city boundary.
Neary reported that after receiving feedback from the city of Graettinger concerning the closeness to development, Joyce agreed to reduce his zoning request to three acres. The supervisors approved the request, rezoning three acres from Ag Conservation to Commercial.
Max Orsborn submitted a request for approval of a conditional use permit to construct two hog finishing buildings in the NE quarter of section 15 T96N-R33W Emmetsburg Township. The animal unit capacity is 4,992 head. According the Neary, although the application meets the separation requirements for the DNR, it does not meet the county's good neighbor policy that doesn't allow for an occupied residence within one-half mile of the hog building site.
Neary reported the planning and zoning commission denied Orsborn's request at their meeting.
Several neighbors attended the board of supervisors meeting and voiced their concerns regarding the possible devaluation of land, the smells associated with hog buildings, and the health of the underground water sources.
Landowner Dan Montag said the building is way too close to his home, which is straight south of the proposed site. "I am concerned it will devaluate my property and I am allergic to hog dust and smell. I had to get rid of my hog buildings."
Neighbor Kevin Kane said he was concerned he wouldn't be able to open his windows.
Addressing Orsborn, Supervisor Linus Solberg said he wants young people to be able to get started in farming. He also said he hates to stop economic development, but talked about all the other people in the county who have abided be the good neighbor policy.
"I want to honor what the zoning board wanted. My heart is with you, but I am against approving this permit."
Supervisor Chairperson Ed Noonan said, "It is not all about this one building. If we start to make exceptions, we don't have a policy."
The board voted to deny Orsborn's request for a conditional land permit.
The outcome of the supervisors' decision, a narrative from the meetings along with the construction permit application will now be sent to the DNR for their consideration.
The supervisors did give their approval to two other requests for conditional use permits to construct one hog building on each site. Both applications were within the good neighbor policy of Palo Alto County. Kyle Hurley requested a permit to construct a facility on the NE quarter of section 7 T94N-R32W Ellington Township and plans call for 2,400 head to be housed at the location. Marty Geelan's request was for one hog-finishing barn to be located in the NE quarter of section 26 T96N-R34W Highland Township. His barn will also have a 2,400 head capacity.