Stearns County to hold public hearings on proposed feedlot ordinance

This article submitted by Lynne Jacobson on 8/4/98.

The Stearns County Environmental Services Department under the direction of the Stearns County Board of Commissioners has, over the last few months, been drafting an ordinance to regulate animal feedlots and manure management practices.

The department has met with various groups, officials and the public over these last few months looking for input and suggestions. A revised ordinance has been drafted and the county board of commissioners is holding a second series of public hearings. A copy of the revised ordinance is available at the Paynesville City Hall for the publicís review.

A public hearing was held Aug. 4 in St. Cloud. There are, however, two more hearings scheduled: Monday, Aug. 10, at Melrose High School and Tues., Aug. 11, at Rocori High School. Both hearings begin at 8 p.m.

Over 700 people attended the public hearing at Melrose during the first round of meetings.

The general purpose and subject matter of the ordinance is to:

1. Regulate the permitting, location, development and expansion of animal feedlots in Stearns County;

2. Set forth standards for the permitting of new animal feedlots and the expansion or modification of existing animal feedlots; establish setback requirements for animal feedlots and manure storage facilities; establish residential setbacks for new residences from existing animal feedlots; provide for the registration of existing animal feedlots; provide standards for manure utilization and transportation; and provide for penalties for violations of the ordinance.

The Paynesville City Council approved the revised setback requirements in the feedlot ordinance if a three-mile conditional use area was established around the city.

If a three-mile conditional use area is established by the county, this would mean that any application within the three-mile circle would require a conditional use permit, with the affected city being notified of the public hearing.

The Koronis Lake Association met with other lake associations in the county and the group has drafted a letter with concerns to the Environmental Services Department.

The Minnesota Legislatur encouraged counties to develop feedlot ordinances several years ago. Stearns County started working on their ordinance within the last year. Meeker County has an ordinance already in place and Kandiyohi County has feedlot regulations in their zoning ordinance.

All interested persons are invited to attend the above hearings or submit written testimony prior to the final hearing date. Written testimony should be submitted to Stearns County Environmental Services Dept., Stearns County Administration Center, Room 343, 705 Courthouse Square, St. Cloud, MN 56303.

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