The Houston County Board of Adjustment (BOA) met June 20 followed immediately by the Planning Commission. A total of five hearings were held that evening.

The BOA voted to grant Jeff Eastman of Jefferson Township a variance of 15 feet to meet a required 50-foot setback from his north property line to build a dwelling and shop.

The same document will allow Eastman a variance of 70 feet on the required quarter-mile setback from an existing feedlot.

Zoning Administrator Bob Scanlan reported that the building site had been the subject of a visit from the Feedlot Advisory Committee earlier in the day, which resulted in a recommendation to allow the variance.

"I also ran the 'offset model', and it indicated that 98 percent of the time, you will not be able to smell that feedlot," he said.

There were no concerns raised by the township or neighbors, Scanlan told the board. After review of six standards, the vote to approve was unanimous.

Feedlot expansion gets nod

The second hearing was for Mark Schulte of Mayville Township who sought a variance of 380 feet to meet the required quarter-mile setback from an existing dwelling to expand a feedlot.

Scanlan said that Schulte wants to build a free-stall barn and replace some smaller loafing barns and open lots. The project lies 940 feet from the Eugene Tesmer home and would expand a heifer raising operation from 70 to 186 animal units.

The Feedlot Advisory Committee also visited that site, Scanlan said, recommending approval.

Once again, there were no concerns raised by neighbors or the township. After the same six standards were read, the vote to grant the measure was again unanimous.

The Planning Commission then held a conditional use permit (CUP) hearing related to the same project, granting Schulte a CUP to build a 68 ft. by 112 ft. manure storage basin.

The structure would be sized to hold three months worth of animal waste, Scanlan reported.

Schulte said that he had consulted with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff prior to choosing the site. Test borings indicate that separation from bedrock requirements will be met, he added.

Scanlan said that all MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) as well as NRCS standards are met by the plans.

Commissioners asked Schulte if he had enough land to haul the manure to, and he said that he did.

At .7 AU per heifer, the barns will feature 240 stalls. Thirteen of 15 criteria were found applicable to the plan. After reviewing those, commissioners voted unanimously to recommend approval. The CUP will go to the county board on July 2.

Lot rezoning near Caledonia recommended

A rezoning hearing was held for Randy Steele of Caledonia Township, who said he wants to build a storage building on lot one, block 1 of the Green Acres Third Addition just outside of Caledonia.

Since the lot (which Steel said includes approximately four acres) is currently zoned residential, moving the parcel to a highway business is necessary before that sort of structure can be built.

Steele said the entry to the building site is off of Phillip Drive, and the land is surrounded on three sides by other residential lots.

Scanlan said that the northern part of the lot lies within the 100-year floodplain and can't be built on. That leaves the best building site nearer the southwestern corner of the lot.

Although Scanlan said there were a couple calls to the zoning office on the proposal, no residents other than Steele attended the hearing.

Commissioners recommended approval to the county board, which will consider that application on July 2 as well.

Members also took up another CUP application, which resulted in a protracted public hearing. That topic (a Bonanza Grain sand mine expansion) is found elsewhere in this week's Herald.

Eighteen already-issued building permits were also approved, covering one new stick-built and two trailer homes, five garages, a barn, a silage bunker, two shops, a home addition, and five storage sheds