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Renville County to take up question next week of possible Limbo Creek appeal

The Renville County Board of Commissioners will discuss whether or not to pursue an appeal to the state's high court in a closed session at its meeting next Tuesday.

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Landowners on County Ditch 77 petitioned in 2017 for a project to excavate a channel where the ditch outlets into Limbo Creek at this site in Renville County. The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 4, 2021, that the waterway is a public water and that the county must perform a mandatory environmental assessment worksheet, due to the potential environmental impact, before a proposed project to excavate a channel can be approved. Tom Cherveny / West Central Tribune file photo

OLIVIA — The Renville County Board of Commissioners could decide as early as next week whether or not to appeal this week’s decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Limbo Creek.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that the waterway is a public water and that the county must perform a mandatory environmental assessment worksheet, due to the potential environmental impact, before a proposed project to excavate a channel can be approved.

County Attorney David Torgelson told the commissioners that lead attorney Gerald Von Korff and other members of the county’s team in the case at the Rinke Noonan law firm were conferring on whether or not the county should appeal the decision. He told the commissioners that it would be a discretionary appeal, and the court would not have to consider it.

The commissioners said they would discuss the matter in a closed session at their meeting next Tuesday.

The requirement for an environmental assessment worksheet does not mean the Limbo Creek improvement project cannot go forward, the county attorney told the commissioners. A decision on whether to approve the project — petitioned for by landowners on County Ditch 77 — would have to await the results of that assessment. Depending on those results, the county could still go forward with it, he said.

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The requirement of conducting an environmental assessment worksheet will slow the process, he added.

Landowners petitioned for the project in 2017. The Renville County Board of Commissioners, acting as the ditch authority, approved the project in November 2020 to excavate a 5,560-linear-foot-channel into Limbo Creek at the outlet of County Ditch 77. It carried an estimated cost of $699,880.

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