Recommendation by county's Planning Commission may leads to revision regarding Holland Pork Co-op permit

WILLMAR -- A conditional use permit that was approved in 1996 for Holland Pork Cooperative may be revised, with some previous restrictions removed and some made more stringent.

WILLMAR -- A conditional use permit that was approved in 1996 for Holland Pork Cooperative may be revised, with some previous restrictions removed and some made more stringent.

At its meeting Monday, the Kandiyohi County Planning Commission agreed to recommend that a new conditional use permit be approved with a new set of conditions put in place.

Final action will be taken March 19 by the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners.

Gary Geer, zoning administrator, asked the commission to determine the nee" and reasonableness of the conditions and proposed changes.

Some of the conditions that may have made sense at the time the new cooperative was planning to build its large hog facility near Prinsburg are no longer needed.


"A lot has happened" since the permit was first approved, said Roger Punt, a spokesperson from Holland Pork. Feedlot permits written later for other operations had fewer restrictions, he said.

One original condition required Holland Pork to "work with the Planning Commission to upgrade as new technology becomes available" and correct any problems identified by the commission.

Geer said "ambiguous language" of that condition made it "difficult, if not impossible, to administer or enforce."

Another condition required Holland Pork to have an irrevocable letter of credit on file to use for cleanup in case the cooperative failed.

That requirement isn't necessary, Geer said, because the cooperative has proliferated and it's unlikely the operation will be abandoned.

Stiff regulations by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency make some of the county conditions redundant. Some state laws that require immediate incorporation of manure into soil weren't in place in 1996, so that condition will be made more stringent for the cooperative.

The proposed change that got the most discussion was a request to remove restrictions on where the cooperative can spread manure generated from its facility.

Under the old conditional use permit, the four sections of land around Prinsburg were off-limits to Holland Pork for manure ap-plication.


That is far more stringent than the county's standard restrictions of a 100-foot set back from a residence for manure application.

The Planning Commission agreed to remove the restriction, except for a small rectangle of land just north of the Prinsburg city limits and close to where a new housing development is proposed.

The commission was also asked to include a provision that would allow Holland Pork to spread manure on ag land within the city limits, in accordance with an agreement the cooperative had worked out with the town's mayor.

The commission decided, however, they had no jurisdiction within Prinsburg city limits and the City Council could allow or not allow manure application where they chose.

Dave Brower, who was an original investor in Holland Pork and says he still supports the cooperative, asked the commission to consider delaying its decision so people from Prinsburg could voice their concerns at a hearing. He said the residents weren't notified of Monday's hearing and weren't aware of what was being proposed.

While the county provided proper legal notice about the hearing, Prinsburg City Councilman Mitch Swart said by the time the city received the letter, they had missed the deadline to put a notice printed in the local weekly newspaper.

In other action:

- The commissioners approved a conditional use permit for Charles Lundberg to operate a boat motor repair business at his home in New London Township.


- An amendment to the zoning ordinance was approved that establishes specific set backs for how close a feedlot can be located to a municipality or unincorporated community.

The amendment was initiated by concerns from residents in Hawick and Roseville Township when additional turkey barns were proposed to be built near the unincorporated community in northern Kandiyohi County.

Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at or 320-894-9750
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