CUP?request raises concerns at board meeting

MARSHALL – A proposed hog barn in northwest Lyon County drew protests from neighbors during Tuesday’s meeting of the Lyon County Board. But while county commissioners acknowledged residents’ concerns about odor and truck traffic, they said the proposal met requirements for a conditional use permit.

The proposed hog finishing barn was one of four feedlot CUP requests that were brought before commissioners on Tuesday. However, it was the one that drew the most vocal objections, said John Biren, Lyon County planning and zoning administrator.

“We received letters from several individuals and a lot of public comment – 45 minutes to an hour, for sure,” at a previous county planning commission meeting, Biren said.

County Board Chairman Rick Anderson excused himself from the meeting and left the room during discussion of the CUP, citing a potential conflict of interest on the matter. Vice chairman Steve Ritter led the discussion instead.

Biren said ABL Custom Finishing was seeking a CUP to construct a hog finishing barn for 2,400 head of hogs on land in Section 17 of Westerheim Township. The land on which the barn would be built is owned by Francis DeCock, Bernard DeCock and Lyle DeCock, he said.

Biren said the project met requirements to be granted a CUP.

“I realize everything is legal,” said Christy Brewers, a neighbor of the site. “I’m not sure that it’s right.”

Brewers said the hog operation would be about a quarter mile from her home, raising potential problems with odor. The site is also located on a hill near Lyon County Road 10, and Brewers said she was concerned about the traffic safety risk if impatient drivers try to pass slowing livestock trucks.

“There are other sites that would not be in a no-passing zone,” Brewers said.

“If it has to be there, maybe some trees as a buffer would help,” said Ken Buysse, another resident in the area.

Commissioner Charlie Sanow said he understood the issues that the hog barn could create. But, he said, “I don’t see how (the board) can deal with issues that haven’t happened yet.”

Commissioners voted 3-0 in favor of granting the CUP. The Lyon County Historical Museum is planning to open its doors to the public this spring, museum director Jennifer Andries said in an update to commissioners.

“The first floor is pretty much finished as far as remodeling,” Andries said. The completed portion of the museum will have a grand opening on May 16, she said. On May 15, a representative of the Minnesota Historical Society will visit the new museum and help start off the festivities, she said.

Although the museum will be open for visitors, Andries said the renovation process will continue, first on the building’s basement level and then on the second floor.

Andries also informed commissioners of a request from the Marshall Convention and Visitors Bureau to rent office space in the museum building. Before acting on the request, commissioners said they wanted to hear more information on how subletting space at the museum building would work, as well as feedback from the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce.

Lyon County Veterans Services will be having a town hall meeting next month to discuss veterans’ health care issues and the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system, said Lyon County Veterans Services Officer Terry Wing. The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. April 18, at the Marshall-Lyon County Library. Wing said area veterans and members of the public are invited to attend.

Several speakers have been scheduled for the town hall meeting, including Brian Wallin, the team leader for the Department of Veterans Affairs Vet Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Patrick Kelly, director of the Sioux Falls VA health care system.

Wing said he could be contacted at 507-537-6729 for more information. He said he will also be collecting questions and discussion topics from the public to bring up at the meeting.