May 24, 2016

Maine Prairie Township
Special Meeting Minutes
May 24, 2016

Attendees: Chair Wicker, Supervisor Kuechle, Supervisor Loewen,  Clerk/Treasurer Hunt, Deputy Clerk Robinson, Attorney Mike Couri  (See attendees list attached).

The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Chair Wicker with the pledge to the flag.

Feedlot – Caesar Larson:

Chair Wicker opened the discussion regarding the feedlot application submitted by C. Larson Family Farms. Attorney Mike Couri was present to answer questions and offer advice. Chair Wicker called for questions or comments from the floor.

Concerns/questions raised by attendees: The Kimball Clean Water Association representatives and local residents requested that the Board adopt a Moratorium on Feedlots as soon as possible and follow-up with a Feedlot Ordinance.

Attorney Couri explained the process of adopting both a Moratorium and an Ordinance by the Township. The Township could adopt an ordinance to regulate feedlots.

The Board would need to determine the number of animals allowed (per animal unit) under the ordinance. Once a feedlot size is established, the Ordinance would need to be published and a Public Hearing would need to be held. The Township would have to modify its Memorandum of Understanding with Stearns County if an

Ordinance was enacted.

On the advice of Counsel, adopting a Moratorium or passing an ordinance at this time would not be advisable.

After Board discussion, Supervisor Loewen moved to send a letter to the Stearns County Board of Commissioners stating that the Maine Prairie Township Board members oppose the issuance of the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to construct a feedlot submitted by C. Larson Family Farm (see reasons listed below), and if the County ultimately decides to approve the requested CUP, the Township asks that any such approval include the conditions as stated below. Seconded by Chair Wicker. All in favor, motion carried.

Opposition Reasons:

  1. The sensitive area has not been fully examined.
    1. Water management plan
    2. Geologic atlas
    3. “Figure 9: Hydrogeologic sensitivity of the water table aquifer, Stearns County” ranked “very high (4 points)” [perhaps from Stearns County comp plan; prepared by Minn Dept of Health, July 2013)
  1. Request EAW.
  2. Road concerns
  3. High nitrogen in wells in this area already.   “Figure 1, Nitrate Risk Ranking, water table aquifer, Stearns County”, prepared by MN Dept Health, July 2013.  Ranked “High risk” per the chart. 

If approved, include the following conditions:

  1. Require a nitrogen stabilizer to be applied to the manure if it is to be applied to the soil when the temperature is higher than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Require 24 hours prior notification be given to all property owners within one-half mile of the property the manure is being applied on.

Prohibit the use of the Township road as a staging/loading area for livestock and crops.               

  1. Require the operator of the feedlot and all of its suppliers and contractors to adhere to posted road weight restrictions at all times.
  2. Prohibit all temporary housing on the site.
  3. Require annual well monitoring on and around the properties where manure is to be spread and on the grounds where the feedlot is proposed to be located. 
  4. Annual monitoring by County staff of the feedlot’s manure management plan.

Century Link Utility Company:
The utility company, Century Link, is refusing to remove or relocate their shallow line in an area where the Town wants to do some ditch cleaning. They would remove or relocate at the Town’s expense.

Atty Couri explained to the Board that there is no statutory law in Minnesota that requires the utility to pay to move its lines when movement is necessary to maintain the road or ditches. However, there is a case law in Minnesota that is widely accepted which requires the utility to pay such costs. Since there is no statute on this issue, the Township passed Ordinance No. 16-01 requiring the utility to move its lines when required by the Township for construction or maintenance purposes.

Supervisor Loewen moved to adopt an ordinance regarding the location and relocation of utilities in Township rights of way, seconded by Supervisor Kuechle. All in favor, motion carried.

Chair Wicker made a motion to adjourn at 9:14 p.m. Seconded by Supervisor Loewen, all in favor, motion carried.

Respectively submitted,

Lori Hunt