Wright County Board Minutes
April 4, 2006
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Heeter, Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek and Eichelberg present.
Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes of 3-27-06, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Highway Engineer Item 2, “Schedule Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting To Discuss TH 101 With The City Of Otsego” (Norman). Russek moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Sawatzke referenced Item B1, which in part was an approval for a tobacco license for the Monticello Country Club. The Consent Agenda reflected Monticello Township but the business is within the City of Monticello. On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as corrected:
1. Performance Appraisals: W. Workman, Hwy.; J. Gutknecht, L. Schallock, Recorder; G. Eldred, Sheriff.
2. Charitable Gambling Application Form LG220, Church of St. Luke, St. Luke’s Parish Center, 17545 Huber Ave., Clearwater MN 55320 (Clearwater Twp.).
3. O/T Report, Period Ending 3-24-06.
4. Set County Auction Date For 5-20-06 @ 10:00 A.M., Public Works Building.
5. Refer To Labor Management Loss Control Committee:
A. 2005 Risk Management Summary.
B. Update On Loss Control Activities.
C. Safety Concerns.
1. Approve Tobacco Licenses: Creekside Tavern (Hanover City); Monticello Country Club (Monticello City); Holiday Stationstore #378 (Otsego City).
1. Authorize Signatures On Highway Easement To City Of Buffalo For Utility Work On CR 138 Along Public Works Property.
D. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
1. Refer To Technology Committee
A.Nasca/MCCC Agreement & Web Portal Project.
B. Disposal Of Old Computer Equipment.
E. PLANNING & ZONING
1. Accept The Findings & Recommendations Of The Planning Commission For The Following Rezonings:
A. Donald Blowers (Maple & Monticello Twps.). Commission unanimously recommend approval of the request to rezone from AG to A/R.
B. Ralph Goelz (Maple Lake Twp.). Commission unanimously recommend approval of establishment of a Rural Planned Unit Development District.
C. Ronald Harkess (Franklin Twp.). Commission unanimously recommend approval of establishment of a Rural Planned Unit Development District.
D. Richard & Ann Smith (Chatham Twp.). Commission unanimously recommend approval of the request to rezone to A/R.
1. Authorize Signatures Of Board Chair, Auditor/Treasurer & Sheriff On Federal Boat & Water Supplemental Grant Agreement.
2. Authorize Signatures On Joint Agreement Relating To Inter-Area Use Of Police Personnel & Facilities (County & City Of Buffalo).
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, requested approval of a partial payment to Fyle’s Excavating for repair work to Judicial Joint Ditch 14. The total estimated cost of repair is $15,000. The request is for reimbursement of $8,644 for materials which have been delivered to the site. They have been unable to proceed with repair due to water. Russek moved to approve the request for payment, seconded by Sawatzke. Hiivala said an Auditor’s warrant will be issued tomorrow for payment. The motion carried 5-0.
On a motion by Mattson, second by Russek, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
A Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 3-27-06. Russek moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0:
The meeting of 3-21-06 was reconvened.
2005 Revenues/Expenditures. The Road & Bridge and Human Services Budgets were not reviewed as Hiivala was unable to attend. Norman distributed a list which reflects the potential use of reserve funding in 2006. These projects are exclusive of the E911 Fund. The demand exceeds the funding supply and there is a negative balance in the Capital Fund. The following items were highlighted:
Otsego Truck Shop. The amount was increased by $150,000 to include the salt shed and utility costs.
Parks Properties. Norman indicated that the amounts reflect the County’s responsibility. The actual purchase price of some properties may be more. If grants are not obtained, the financial obligation would cease. Grant status should be known by July 1st.
Insurance Exclusions. This was reflected at $1,000,000 and removed from the listing. It was felt that this did not need to be earmarked and that reserves could be increased to cover this. Recommendation: It was the consensus to designate $1 million to reserves. Funding will be used to bring the $859,270 General Fund balance back to $0; to make the $280,000 Potter Property payment (to be paid as soon as possible to realize interest savings); to designate $750,000 toward the Otsego Truck Station; and to designate $200,000 toward the Comprehensive Land Use Plan. (End of Budget Of The Whole Minutes)
A Building Committee Of The Whole Meeting as held on 3-27-06. Mattson moved to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0:
Review Architect RFP’s. Proposals were received from the following firms: SEH, DLR Group, Durrant, Klein McCarthy & Co., KKE Architects, Wold Architects & Engineers, BKV Group. The firm, BWBR, was sent the RFP but declined as their project schedule was too full. It was understood that Buetow & Associates was to partner with another firm with a proposal. However, nothing was received. Norman explained that one firm is unavailable for an interview the week of April 3rd due to the project leader being on vacation. Norman said energy conservation measures should also be addressed, either through the architect or a separate consultant, to look at an in-depth study of geo-thermal and wind energy technologies. Energy efficiencies could be built in to reduce operating costs and could be built into the overall design prior to seeking bids. If things did proceed in that direction, the City of Buffalo would be consulted and State grant funding would be researched. Torfin provided an overview of the proposals received:
Architect; Cost Through Schematic Design
KKE Architects; $210,650
Comments: KKE Architects has MN Jail Experience with fees at 5.5% to 6.5% of construction, based on $35 million project.
Architect; Cost Through Schematic Design
DLR Group; $278,640
Comments: A percentage range for fees was not listed but a fee schedule was provided for hourly rates. Indicates a fee cost of $2,528,640 to $3,314,640. Justice planners are in Omaha. Jon Crump is listed as the Principal In Charge and Project Designer. DLR Group has their own internal Mechanical Engineers. Scott County was listed in the resume’ of the Mechanical Engineer, however Scott County had many problems with their mechanicals. The same holds true for the Electrical Engineer. It is unclear if this was a design or contractor issue. George Fantauzza is proposed as the Construction Coordinator.
Architect; Cost Through Schematic Design
BKV Group; $288,186
Comments: BKV Group’s fee rate is at 6% maximum on the cost of construction. They are teamed with HOK for jail and justice expertise. No MN experience with HOK. The partner in charge has some MN experience. There are no local jail design planners.
Architect; Cost Through Schematic Design
Comments: The final fee schedule reflects $2,227,500 to $2,545,500 (includes schematic design). The Principal In Charge has no justice experience. The Project Manager and Justice Designer/Planner only have small remodel projects they have participated in. The Project Architect has some Iowa experience but is not listed as a registered architect in Minnesota. Durrant had no references to any proposed AIA changes.
Architect; Cost Through Schematic Design
Comments: SEH is teamed with Venture Architects (Milwaukee WI). Venture Architects has justice experience, mostly in Wisconsin, and they would be the Project Architects. SEH does not have any jail experience themselves. The estimated fee is $2,074,000 (includes schematic design) plus $180,000 in reimbursables.
Architect; Cost Through Schematic Design
Wold Architects; $333,860.
Comments: The estimated fee is $2,225,788 (includes schematic design) or 6% of the total construction. Wold has a lot of MN justice experience. They have several proposed language changes to the AIA document, which were listed as discussion items to better understand the context for the language. They are not taking exception but want clarification.
Architect; Cost Through Schematic Design
Comments: The final fee is to be negotiated based upon the approved construction budget. They have a lot of justice design experience with the principals involved. Bruce Omtvedt and Scott Fettig have very extensive jail design experience. It is a small firm. They, as well as others, claim to have staff immediately available. Klein-McCarthy has a fairly good sized portfolio of work. They complete the design work and they have a history of partnering with other architectural firms for production assistance. They also hire others for labor. Al Brinkman is listed as their Jail Consultant. Torfin contacted other jurisdictions for references on past work experiences with the firms. Norman indicated that the construction management firm should be hired early in the process to work on the County’s behalf through the entire process. Norman said an application has not been submitted to the City for annexation. The Surveyor’s Department has completed the survey and a legal description has been obtained for the property. He has been waiting for Commissioners to meet with Buffalo Township officials which will occur soon.
Recommendation: Norman and Asleson will develop an RFP for construction management services. This RFP will be presented to the Committee at a future meeting. Architect interviews will be scheduled on the following dates: April 4th, April 5th, and April 12th. The following firms were selected for interviews: KKE Architects, DLR Group, Durrant, and Wold Architects. They will be instructed to prepare a 30-minute presentation on their team, design philosophy, and energy conservation/efficiency maintenance experience. (End of Building Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
A Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 3-28-06. Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Russek. Heeter made the following correction to the minutes: Page 2, 2nd to last paragraph, 2nd sentence, change from “where 95% of those in attendance” to “where supposedly 95% of those in attendance.” The motion carried 5-0 to approve the minutes as corrected:
Township Planning & Zoning. The meeting of February 28, 2006 was reconvened at 10:30 A.M. Distributed were a draft Joint Powers Agreement with Rockford Township regarding Official Controls, Proposed Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance (pursuant to the 1-25-06 Committee Of The Whole Meeting), a checklist outlining Potential Delegation of Powers to 462 Townships (Inter-Governmental Power Agreement), and a Memorandum dated 3-06-06 from Tom Salkowski to Township Clerks on Township Planning & Zoning.
Draft Joint Powers Agreement With Rockford Township. Zins explained that normally a Joint Powers Agreement is not required. However, the City of Rockford extended its subdivision regulations two miles into the Township which is allowed by Statute. The exception is when a township has subdivision regulations in place, but allowances are not made for counties in this regard The Joint Powers Agreement was drafted by the Township’s Attorney and basically preserves the prerogatives of the Township and the County, defining the relationship between the County and Township and how it is administered. This Agreement is limited to the subdivision area. The Agreement automatically renews for successive one-year terms and may be terminated by either party providing a 90-day notice. Zins recommended forwarding the document to the County Board for approval. Recommendation: The Committee recommendation is to forward the Joint Powers Agreement with Rockford Township to the County Board for approval.
Township Planning & Zoning. Salkowski referenced the 3-06-06 letter to townships relating to Township Planning and Zoning. The letter was sent reflecting what Townships must do to perform their own planning and zoning. Corinna Township may proceed with a Land Use Plan but the County has not been formally notified of this. Their Plan must be as restrictive as the County’s Plan. The draft Delegation of Zoning Powers to 462 Townships would call for dual permitting, requiring an applicant to obtain a permit from the County prior to making application to a township. Some authority could be delegated to the townships with certain guidelines. That authority could be withdrawn if so desired. A permit approved by the County could be approved or denied by the Township. The permitting process would cease if the County denied the permit. Eichelberg felt staff from Planning & Zoning should attend the Corinna, Middleville and Stockholm Township meetings on a regular basis so that they are aware of what is being discussed/approved. Salkowski plans to attend the Middleville and Stockholm Township meetings to inform them of the changes which will be implemented. Zins explained the process of recordings plats. Under Section 507.5, the County Recorder does not record any subdivision plats from a township of less than 5,000 people unless the plat has been reviewed and approved by the Wright County Board (pursuant to Minn. Statutes 505). The Ordinance amendments indicate that anyone who wants to obtain a permit from the Township must make application to the County first. It does not address the situation where the Township’s Ordinance may be stricter or that the County may wish to delegate authority to Townships. However, the Ordinance could be amended to reflect these issues at a later date if desired. After discussion, it was decided that rezoning and the creation of new zoning districts will be eliminated from the Delegation of Zoning Powers listing. A public hearing would be held by the Planning Commission on the proposed changes to the Zoning Ordinance. A public hearing would be required to change permit fees and they must be standard for all townships. Heeter said Planning & Zoning rules, regulations and ordinances are required and the County Board has the responsibility to taxpayers to continue to offer the service to protect them. She referenced a recent Corinna Township meeting where supposedly 95% of those in attendance supported the Township performing their own Planning & Zoning. She felt people in that Township may have been unaware that this issue would be voted upon at that meeting. She was unaware of it herself. Recommendation: The Delegation of Zoning Powers to 462 Townships will be modified, eliminating all items which reference rezoning or creation of new zoning districts. A Public Hearing will be held at the Planning Commission level to take public comment on the Zoning Ordinance Amendments. A recommendation from the Planning Commission on these Amendments will be forwarded to the County Board for review. (End of Committee Of The Whole Minutes).
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, requested adoption of a Right-Of-Way Ordinance. The Ordinance would impose regulation on the placement and maintenance of facilities and equipment currently within its right-of-way or to be placed therein at some future time. In the past, this was handled by Policy. The trend is to adopt an Ordinance whereby the County would have regulations to govern these activities. The majority of work on the draft was completed by Bill Cordell, Utility Permit Supervisor. Asleson said the adoption of the Ordinance was originally scheduled as a Public Hearing. It was changed to a Public Notice of Intent to adopt an Ordinance as the Ordinance does not involve land use control. In response to an insurance liability question by Mattson, Cordell stated the Ordinance would require contractors to carry insurance. Asleson added that utility companies and the County carry insurance as well. The Ordinance is specific to County right-of-way and does not cover township right-of-way. Discussion followed on whether it would be beneficial for townships to pass an Ordinance similar in nature. Asleson said the Ordinance will be available on the County’s website. This issue may be brought forth at the Township Association Meeting on 4-06-06. Russek moved to adopt Ordinance #06-01, Wright County Right-Of-Way Ordinance, seconded by Mattson. Ken Jolston, Wright Hennepin Electric, said they generally apply for permits from the township when completing major work in their right-of-way. The motion to adopt the Right-Of-Way Ordinance carried 5-0. Sawatzke made a motion to adopt Resolution #06-28 adopting the Right-Of-Way Permit Fee Schedule and Construction Performance Bond Schedule, effective 4-04-06. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. A summary of the Ordinance follows:
The Wright County Right-Of-Way Ordinance imposes regulations on the placement and maintenance of facilities and equipment currently within its right-of-way or to be placed there at some future time. Persons wishing to place such facilities or perform other work involving excavation or obstruction of the public right-of-way will be required to apply for and obtain a permit for such work. The County will specify location and installation standards for such facilities, and will require performance bonds, insurance and other security to guarantee restoration of the right-of-way as needed. Persons locating new facilities and those with existing facilities in the right-of-way will also be required to register on an annual basis, providing information about their facilities which will enable the County to better manage its right-of-way. A complete copy of the Wright County Right-Of-Way Ordinance may be obtained by contacting the Wright County Highway Department.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, said a Transportation Committee Of The Whole (TCOTW) Meeting was held on 3-31-06. He presented the action items from that meeting:
Delano Shop/Albertville Shop. The recommendation for the Delano Shop was to advertise the sale of the property, set the bid date, and set the minimum price at $200,000. With regard to the Albertville Shop, the recommendation was to set a date to accept bids on the removal of the facility. The Highway Department will hold an open house prior to the bid opening. On a motion by Russek, second by Sawatzke, all voted to schedule the bid opening for 5-02-06 at 9:30 A.M. The minimum bid price on the Delano Shop is $200,000. Fingalson was directed to work with Asleson on the bid specifications.
Round-About, Monticello. A request by the City had been presented to the TCOTW for a round-about at CSAH 18 and Meadow Oak Road. This was against the recommendation of the Highway Department and a report from SRF Consulting reflecting why this would not be a good option for the location. This request was prompted by the Highway Department following Policy on spacing requirements, therefore not approving a full access or left turn movement in this location. Today, Fingalson recommended against the round-about. He estimated the cost of the round-about at $400,000 and favored approval of a full access, left turn movement rather than the round-about, although neither was a desirable alternative in his perspective. Heeter and Sawatzke said this was not presented as an option at the meeting. Fingalson said when reviewing options for safety, maintenance and disproportionate delay to highway travelers, he thought the full intersection was the best of the two options. There were still pedestrian crossing concerns with multi-lane round-abouts. He strongly recommended that if the Board did not go along with the original recommendation allowing the left turn in a 3/4 intersection, that they proceed with the intersection with full access. This could potentially create problems in the future but an intersection would at least allow for future modification. A round-about would not allow this. Russek said that the City left the TCOTW Meeting with the intent of a round-about at the intersection. If the plan were going to be changed today, he would like to provide a chance for them to respond. Their original request was for a full intersection but he wanted their opinion before approval was granted. Sawatzke inquired how the school would be impacted. If the school access were not lined up with Meadow Oak Road, they would still have the same dilemma with no access to the north. A new road would then be required to the north with no option but to run the road through the soccer fields. Fingalson said another option would be to connect with Chelsea Road, going north with that signal. He thought the school owned all of the land in between. Russek and Sawatzke felt input was needed from the City and School District. Fingalson said this issue could be discussed again at the TCOTW. Sawatzke questioned whether the school could line up with the intersection across from Meadow Oak Road. Fingalson felt this was an option if they could not be served by the two other locations. Fingalson said that at the end of the TCOTW Meeting, of the two options available the roundabout was the least attractive. There is a low traffic count on the City street versus the high traffic on CSAH 18. The cost would be considerably higher with raising the entire road. Sawatzke said this cost was unknown as it is unclear what portion would be paid by adjacent properties. Mattson said he would not be changing his position until this was discussed again with all parties. Fingalson said that it was the understanding at the TCOTW Meeting that the Board would be making a decision on this today. Sawatzke moved to approve a round-about in the City of Monticello noting that approval could be changed to a full access intersection if the Highway Department can negotiate with the other parties involved that such an intersection would be better than a round-about. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Sawatzke said staff needed to meet with the City’s engineers to decide what would be best. The City looked at the round-about option because the full intersection was not a viable option. He was unsure as to the School’s perspective. Fingalson said he was representing the County and doing what he felt was best for CSAH 18 and the City is representing the City for those on CSAH 18. Sawatzke did not see it that way. He thought that 85% of the traffic on CSAH 18 was from the City of Monticello. Fingalson said that would change with the freeway project. The motion carried 4-1 with Eichelberg casting the nay vote.
On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Russek, all voted to schedule a Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting for 4-17-06 at 2:30 P.M. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss a TH 101 agreement with the City of Otsego.
At 9:45 A.M., Heeter closed the regular meeting for a Public Hearing on the Mud Lake name change request. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said a petition was received by the Auditor. The petition was organized by Dewey Gunnarson and relates to the Mud Lake located in the northeast corner of the City of Albertville, north of I-94. The proposed name is Hunters Lake. The County has completed notice of the Hearing per statutes. A copy of the City Council minutes approving the change was received although approval by the City is not required. A letter from the DNR was received indicating they have no objection to the name change. There are currently eight lakes named “Mud Lake” in Wright County and the DNR felt it would eliminate confusion. Glen Yakel, DNR Division of Waters, referenced the letter from the DNR supporting the name change to Hunters Lake. It was noted that “Hunters Lake” does not represent a person. There is a development in the northeast corner of the Lake called Hunters Pass Estates. Asleson said the County can recoup advertising costs associated with the Public Hearing. In this case, that amounted to $1.28 for a three-week advertisement. The draft resolution will be changed to remove “Hunters Pass Lake” from the first paragraph and replace it with “Hunters Lake.” The Public Hearing was closed at 9:52 A.M. and the regular meeting reconvened. Russek moved to adopt Resolution #06-29 approving the name change from Mud Lake to Hunters Lake. The motion was seconded by Mattson. In response to a question by Richard Norman, County Coordinator, a certified copy of the resolution will be forwarded to the DNR. It is then sent by the State to the Federal Geographical Names Unit. Upon approval, it will return to the County to be recorded. Yakel stated that the lake lies entirely within the boundaries of the City of Albertville. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
At 9:54 A.M., Heeter closed the regular meeting for a Public Hearing on the request for a variance to the Feedlot Ordinance as requested by Roy Marschall. Tracy Janikula, Feedlot Administrator, said the request is for a variance to Section 8.003(a) of the Ordinance to allow a cattle barn to be built approximately 83’ from the center of the township road. The location of the proposed barn is in the footprint of an existing cow barn that has a dirt floor and crumbling foundation. The new building would be total confinement and will be connected to the exiting freestall barn and milking center. Staff recommends approval of the variance request. Copies of written response were provided for review. The Township approved the request. Both the applicant and operator were present.
Mattson referenced the MPCA feedlot program and the 300’ setback requirements. He questioned how the 300’ is measured. Janikula said the measurement is done horizontally. Although she did not measure the setback of the new building to the creek, she estimated this at 250’. The issue being addressed today was the variance to the road setback. The operation has a feedlot permit. Sawatzke recognized concerns voiced by Mattson on manure running to the creek. This issue was also raised in several of the resident letters received. He questioned whether Janikula had taken steps to make sure that environmental practices were in place. Janikula responded affirmatively and said vast improvements have been made since the property was purchased three years ago. Manure is scraped into a collection pit and piped underground to a manure basin. The new barn will be connected to the existing barn and manure will travel into the basin. There will be no open lots and no rain would come in contact with the manure.
Mattson was contacted by a person who does water quality checks on Little Waverly. The water flows from Little Waverly to the Crow River. He was voicing concern for a number of people. He also contacted Kerry Saxton, SWCD, who had not seen plans for this variance. Janikula responded that she did not feel this was required as she issues permits as Feedlot Administrator. The only manure which was being impacted by rain was that in the basin which had been properly built and approved by the SWCD. The basin was cleaned and maintained and the manure was properly spread. They have a manure management plan which is updated annually and those spreading the manure are certified manure applicators overseen by the Department of Agriculture.
Fred Budde is a landowner to the south of the Marschall farm. He felt it was a situation where there is a very small farm that cannot handle the number of animals. What hadn’t been brought forth was the current number of animals. He referenced the open sided barn on a hill and felt the statement made was untrue that there is no manure in the creek. Flashing lights can be seen 24/7 from the barn. He felt there were odor and property value issues which would need to be addressed for approval of an increased building size on 50-60 acres. His father was a farmer. Budde referenced the beautiful recreational area and 12-Mile Creek which runs through this farm, empties into Little Lake Waverly, and then to Lake Waverly. He did not know how residents would feel about an increase of 15% in property taxes next year. He viewed this as ruining the tax base in a beautiful wetland area. Water samples of Lake Waverly were becoming worse. He felt at some point, the good of the whole must be looked at instead of the good of one person or family. Budde built his home in August, 2004 but has been a County resident for 25 years. Budde said the owner of the farm does not live on site. He questioned how many buildings would be allowed on a 53-acre parcel. Russek responded that a manure management plan must be in place. There are many who don’t want farms anymore but this farm has been established for a long time. Budde said the subject property previously did not have that number of buildings on it. Russek said that was probably true but it did have a manure management plan. Budde rented to Marschall for two years and said about 1.5 years ago, liquid manure was spread within 30-40’ of Little Waverly Lake. Within one week, there was a large rainfall. He questioned whether anyone believed no manure ends up in the water. Budde referenced phosphorus levels in Little Lake Waverly.
Marschall owns the farm in a partnership with his son-in-law. Referencing Budde’s statements, he said manure was spread on land but was completed by applicators and was 300’ from the Lake. He operates 425 acres of land in Wright County. Manure is hauled, sometimes 4-6 miles. It is sometimes spread and otherwise injected into the ground. In the barn that was referenced as being open, the manure is scraped into a concrete barrier. It is hauled on top of the ground to different locations. No manure is exposed to rain and what is in the lagoon is pumped. He felt the proposed building was an improvement from what currently exists and would house only an additional six cows. The proposal would allow for less run off than currently exists as everything will be enclosed and manure will be pumped.
Mattson questioned an emergency plan and who would be responsible to take immediate action. He referenced past problems at Metro Dairy. Marschall said the lagoon would be totally enclosed so he did not feel there would be a runoff situation. Mattson was concerned with the potential of an accident and whether this request had gained MPCA approval. Janikula said the MPCA does not control the feedlot due to size. The County does. The operator is required to maintain 2’ of freeboard (24 hour/25 year storm) and to spread manure a couple of times per year. She understood concerns on protecting the creek and that is why there is a manure management plan in place. The operator injects a lot of the manure which is a vast improvement.
Greg Sain has lived on Little Waverly Lake for 2-3 years and is an avid bass fisherman. Large mouth bass are resilient and can live in situations that other fish cannot handle. He spends three of seven days/week on the Lake during the Summer months and completes phosphorus testing of the Lake. He has a vested interest in getting the Lake back to what it should be. He claimed the Lake was a cesspool from July through September and did not think it was from residents watering lawns. He had no issue with farmers as this is a farm community. His grandfather was a farmer. He questioned how many cows were currently on the property, how many were anticipated with the additional building, and where the owner lives so he can contact him when algae levels increase dramatically. He did not have an issue with a person farming as their means of living but did have an issue if a hobby farmer was causing problems.
Russek questioned whether Sain knew where 12-Mile Creek started and said it drained Lake Ann, which has very poor water quality. He referenced all of the fish dying in Lake Ann a few years ago. Drainage also comes from Ditch 10. He did not feel this one farm was causing the problem. Sain submits water quality checks each month. Each time manure is transported or spread, it seems to rain. When this happens, he said the pollution in Little Waverly Lake increases three-fold. He read a letter he received, author unknown, which stated the results from the tests on the Lake were alarming. He said this is the worst Lake in Wright County. The citizens must do something as the DNR is not. Sain said those on the Lake continue to pay increased property taxes which may not be justified.
Sawatzke felt Sain believed that the pollution to the Lake was caused by the applicants. He questioned whether Sain felt it was from the actual feedlot operation or from the spreading of manure. Sain felt only so much could be afforded by the amount of land on this farm and that in the next 10-15 years, this area may be surrounded by homes. Sawatzke questioned if Sain perceived the pollution source to be from the farm/feedlot or from the spreading of the manure. Sain responded yes to both.
Harlan Poppler, feedlot operator, said that there are 300 animal units from baby calves to heifers in the entire operation. He is the son-in-law of Marschall, resides on the property with his family, and is a partner in the operation. Marschall resides in Shakopee. He referenced a previous comment by Budde about lights from the farm. These lights remain on to promote growth and enhance the farming operation. He felt it was no different than streetlights in town. Those moving to the area knew of the feedlot and odor issues, and they elected to build their home next to the feedlot.
Jim Gallager has resided on the Lake for forty years and is not a farmer. He could not say what was occurring was right or wrong. Phosphorus levels are tracked. For many months, residents on the Lake have seen runoff in the creek but he was unsure whether it was from the feedlot. He knew Lake Ann was a problem. Runoff can be seen during rainfalls and did not feel the operation should increase. Gallager will not be able to let his grandchildren swim in the Lake this year because of the pollution. Although Lake Ann and other sources may be contributing to the problem, he felt they needed to control pollution where possible.
Sain and Jim Moy check phosphorus levels between the two Lakes. After manure spreading or anything of that nature, they again check levels. Lake Ann remains the same while Little Waverly phosphorus levels increase three-fold. He asked for responsible farming practices. He did not expect the Lake to be clear but felt it should be clean. If the owner and operator chose to continue the operation, they should make sure their desire to do so doesn’t affect the entire tax base of the area.
Poppler said no manure is spread around the Lake. It is spread down the road away from the Lake. When manure was spread on Budde’s land in the past, it was 300’ away from the Lake and injected into the ground. He did not feel the applicators would risk their permit, as they run a $1 million business pumping manure all over Minnesota. He keeps the area as clean as possible and manure is scraped from the concrete barriers into the lagoon. A neighbor’s tile does empty into the ditch which runs by his property and this happens the entire year. Poppler said there is currently an open alley on the Marschall property and water from the existing barn runs off to the road ditch. The proposal would enclose the barn so no water would touch the inside of the facility. Manure would be disposed into a pipe drained into the basin.
Budde said that in 2003, there were fewer than 100 cows on this operation. In addition, the holes to inject the manure on his property were not drilled 300’ from the Lake. He said there are many properties such as this in Wright County and he didn’t know how they could be allowed to expand in the future. He questioned expansion restrictions. Janikula said anything over 10 acres is not restricted in the ag district.
Sawatzke said it is understandable that those residing on the Lake are concerned. The feedlot owners were not proposing to harm the Lake and the proposal actually would better the environment. Russek’s comment that water in the Creek comes from a large area was correct. The Feedlot Ordinance was enacted to set standards that are environmentally sound, not to stop farmers from farming. The applicants have met the criteria. If the Feedlot Administrator had indicated they were uncooperative, they may not have approved the request. However, rules and good farming practices have been followed. He said it was suggested that they do not reside on the farm but that was incorrect. Many property owners have family members who reside on their farms.
The Public Hearing was closed at 10:40 A.M. and the regular meeting reconvened. Eichelberg questioned the number of animals on the property. Janikula explained that the proposal is to increase the number by 6 cows. They currently have and are permitted for 390 animal units. Budde questioned future expansion plans. Sawatzke did not feel future expansion plans could be addressed with this request. The request being considered was for a setback variance from the Township road. Farming practices were not what was being considered. If there were legitimate concerns on how the farm was operated, they should be relayed to the Feedlot Administrator on a day when visible.
Leander Wetter, Rockford Township, has farmed milk cows for 44 years. He said the Hearing was on setback requirements, not on expansion. The arguments on this do not pertain to the request.
Gallager questioned whether the new building was in the footprint of the existing one. Poppler explained that the foundation of the building will be replaced with the concrete of the proposed building. It is larger but will be enclosed. Janikula viewed it as an environmental improvement. Sawatzke said township approval was received and it was clearly an improvement. For those reasons, he supported the request. Russek moved to grant the variance request, seconded by Sawatzke. Mattson said he would vote against the motion. He hoped the problems cited could be resolved but he was uncomfortable with the request at this time. Sawatzke said Janikula should work closely with the applicant to make sure environmental standards were met. The motion carried 4-1 with Mattson casting the nay vote.
Amendments to the Feedlot Ordinance were presented. These changes were considered during a Public Hearing held last month. These amendments would result in amendments to the Zoning Ordinance for consistency. One change in the proposed amendments was made after the Public Hearing. It related to Section 6.005, Conditional Use Permits, Section B, Land Use Districts. It was decided that orderly annexation areas should be excluded. Another issue discussed was emergency provisions in the case of catastrophic events to expedite the permitting process. Janikula said there is limited availability to accommodate this through the Ordinance but staff would do their best to expedite the process. Mattson referenced page 9 of the amendments dealing with the 300’ setback to lakes or streams. Janikula clarified that there is a 300’ horizontal setback requirement. Leander Wetter voiced concern with response during catastrophic events. Sawatzke felt staff would work diligently to move the process along. Leander referenced the vote on the feedlot variance setback and felt it was a political vote. He thought a political vote could also occur during a situation involving a catastrophic event. He personally experienced a fire and rebuilt his operation within 60 days but questioned where he would have been if something would have stalled the process (i.e., weather conditions). Russek said the proposed amendments were to be consistent with State regulations. Russek moved to adopt Ordinance 06-02, amendments to the Feedlot Ordinance, seconded by Sawatzke, effective 4-05-06. The motion carried 5-0. Russek moved to adopt Ordinance 06-03, amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, seconded by Sawatzke, effective 4-05-06. The motion carried 5-0. A summary of the amendments follows:
The amendments to the Wright County Feedlot Ordinance update the Ordinance so that it is consistent with Minnesota Rules, Chapter 7020, the state regulations for animal feedlots. This is particularly true with respect to manure management. Several other changes are based on the practical experience of administering the Feedlot Ordinance since it was originally adopted in 1998.
In addition, several amendments to the Wright County Zoning Ordinance have been adopted. These changes have to do with animal feedlot related provisions within the Zoning Ordinance, and they are made to keep the two Ordinances consistent with each other. Complete copies of the amendments to the Wright County Feedlot Ordinance and the Wright County Zoning Ordinance or copies of the entire Ordinances may be obtained by contacting the Office of Planning and Zoning.
Asleson said prior action today involved the adoption of a Right-Of-Way Ordinance. An effective date was not established. Russek moved to make the Right-Of-Way Ordinance effective 4-05-06, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
A Parks Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 3-27-06. Sawatzke corrected the minutes to reflect that Bernie Beneke was a representative of the Wright County Parks Commission. Russek moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0:
Discuss Partnership With City Of Monticello RE: Regional Parks. Discussion involved a partnership on the possible acquisition of the YMCA property located in Monticello Township (approximately 1,017 acres). A map of the area was distributed as well as information and maps on existing County Parks.
The County/City goals are :
G. To provide a Regional Park Facility that will include a variety of recreational opportunities for a regional clientele.
H. To preserve, manage, and restore significant natural resources on the site.
I. To preserve all water resources and protect shorelines from development.
J. To provide environmental and cultural resource education and interpretation.
K. Connect other regional amenities through the use of greenways and trail systems.
L. To provide a suitable area for the City of Monticello to develop a municipal athletic complex.
M. To allow the City and County to capitalize on edge spaces adjacent to the acquisition area and to create superior upper end residential spaces.
N. To preserve a wilderness style experience for others.
O’Neill felt this was a unique opportunity to preserve the area. The YMCA had an appraisal performed. The City has set up a Task Force to work on this acquisition. The Task Force has been working on concept planning for the site. Mattice and Sawatzke have attended these meetings. The City is not requesting a specific level of support from the County at this time but rather the opportunity to play a role in the acquisition.
The time line is proposed as follows:
March 29, 2006 8:00 A.M. Monticello City Hall, Progress Report
April 10, 2006 Monticello City Hall Joint Meeting, County Task Force Members, Monticello City Council, Monticello Parks Board, Wright County Parks Commission
April 24, 2006 Monticello City Council consideration of authorization of formal negotiations/memo of understanding
April 25, 2006 Wright County Board of Commissioners resolution of support, partnership/memo of understanding
Mattice recommended the appointment of 1-2 County Board Members to the Task Force. Mattice envisioned the County to be responsible for amenities for a regional parks system (operation/maintenance of trails, boat accesses, fishing piers, campground, etc.). The City would maintain and operate the athletic complex. The YMCA has interest in maintaining a day camp on the site. If this does not transpire, Mattice proposed a large group camp which would be maintained by the County. He also felt the County should be involved in restoration, through planning and seeking grant funding. There are currently two homes on the site. The YMCA originally obtained a large share of this land at a very reduced cost as the goal was to preserve the land and make it available for youth. Taxes have not been paid during this time. It was felt there should be a consideration to sell the property to the City so the land is still within the YMCA’s mission. Park dedication fees were discussed. The City currently assesses $3,500 per unit ( average 200 units/year) and $2,000 of this fee would be used toward this project. The balance would go to other City Parks. If development slows down, the City does not want a large debt and will attempt to work creatively with bond consultants on payments. Law requires a portion of the cost to be assessed against existing homeowners. The County will pursue an appraisal of the land. The City has the option of renting the land to develop sport fields prior to purchase. Sawatzke proposed that two Board members, the Parks Administrator, and a Parks Commission member serve on the task force. The next meeting is scheduled for 4-10-06 at 5:00 P.M. to discuss the concept. Norman indicated that under State law, a meeting can be closed to discuss purchase price of a property rather than stating negotiation positions in an open meeting. Recommendation: The consensus was to support the project and continue working toward acquisition. Heeter, Sawatzke and the Parks Administrator will serve on the task force. (End of Parks Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
Mattson said he took offense to Wetter’s previous comment that the vote on the feedlot variance request was political. Two farms flow into the Creek and he said it was a conscious vote on runoff concerns. Wetter felt the vote should be on this farm and not the total area. It appeared as though the feedlot owner had met the requirements of the permit and that is why he took offense to it.
American Business Forms. $644.51
American Instit. Supply 1,130.30
American Planning Assn. 334.00
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 240.64
Aramark Correctional Serv. 5,005.87
Arrowwood Resort 1,322.08
George Bakeberg 459.47
Lawrence Bauman 488.11
BP Amoco 1,797.78
Ryan Busch 203.81
CDW Government Inc. 239.62
Central McGowan Inc. 374.65
The Copy Shop of Buffalo 143.98
Deatons Mailing Sys. Inc. 580.43
Diversified Networks Inc. 2,864.12
Ralph Douglas 499.68
Elk River Ford 40,646.00
Express Police Supply 533.93
Fyles Excav./Honey Wagon 8,664.00
Gateway Companies Inc. 849.00
Glencoe Equipment Inc. 233.87
Karen Hayes 134.84
Hillyard Floor Care Supply 1,571.48
Todd Hoffman 173.42
Krystal Joerg 349.98
LaPlant Demo Inc. 1,247.54
Marco Business Products 1,764.37
Menards - Buffalo 145.05
MN Community Corrections 640.00
MN Corrections Assoc. 100.00
MN Department of Revenue 4,143.95
MN Office of Enterprise Tech. 965.00
MN Weights and Measurers 230.00
Chris Nalezny 399.98
National Assoc. of Counti 440.00
Nextel Communications 2,859.72
Office Depot 390.68
Pacific Bancnote Company 1,250.00
Pearson-Radli & Assoc. 770.00
G. Peterson Machinery 116.33
PMI Computer Supplies 835.80
Real Truck Inc. 107.98
Rhodes Lock & Glass 147.57
RS Eden 5,882.50
Unlimited Electroc Inc. 424.89
Wright Co. Highway Dept. 2,037.62
19 Payments less than $100 1,023.80
Final total $109,146.76
The meeting adjourned at 11:07 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal April 24, 2006.