BLUE EARTH - Faribault County commissioners approved a conditional use permit for Cargill Ag Horizons on Tuesday, but it took a while.
Cargill plans to build a liquid fertilizer retail facility; bulk storage tank facility; and railroad unloading station, with an underground line to the storage tank facility, in Section 30 of Emerald Township, near Marna.
John Schmidt, operations leader, explained the precautions Cargill will take to contain products. No anhydrous will be stored on site, he said. The company will not be making fertilizer, but mixing it with other products.
The board discussed the changes Cargill will make to a nearby road to make it a 10-ton road, including paving 1,800 feet of a township road off County Road 13. Schmidt said Cargill plans to re-route a path so the trucks have one entrance and one exit and won't be lined up on the roads.
John McDonald, county engineer, said an engineer will oversee the road changes.
Troy Timmerman, county attorney, suggested a couple of changes to the permit, which ignited more discussion.
"It's designed for additions," said Commissioner Tom Warmka. "If we only approve what's here, that's all right."
"Two years from now, there could be some new case laws," Timmerman pointed out.
"We all want to support the project, but we have to be cautious," said Commissioner Greg Young.
The board approved the conditional use permit with the changes.
Going back to an old topic, the board discussed the Planning Commission and the Board of Adjustments and at what number to set the membership. The vote was split.
Michelle Stindtman, director of Soil and Water, offered two options for the Planning Commission: an 11-member board, which gives each commissioner district two representatives; or a seven-member board, with a three-year plan to reduce the number to that level. Both options would include a commissioner on the board. The board of adjustments is three members.
"I lean toward the 11-member," said Commissioner Tom Loveall.
"I agree with Tom," said Commissioner Bill Groskreutz.
"This board only deals with rural issues," Warmka said. "It'd be fine with me if we went to seven."
On an 11-member board, he said, one district would have three representatives, counting the commissioner.
"I don't know that the issues are district-decided," Loveall said.
He suggested assigning seats according to population, but not counting the populations of the district's towns.
At a previous meeting, Stindtman expressed concern that a smaller board would have trouble putting together a quorum, which is necessary to be able to vote.
"I like the second option, along with Commissioner Warmka," said Young. "Ask 'em up front: Do you think you'll be able to show up for the meeting? If not, eliminate them."
A motion was made in favor of a seven-member board. When the vote was taken, Warmka and Young voted yes, Loveall and Groskreutz voted no and chairman John Roper broke the tie with a yes vote. The change will take effect in January.
In other business, Linsey Warmka announced the Faribault County Development Corporation's new website will go live Oct. 22, while the Tour of Manufacturing will be Oct. 25, with Express Diagnostics International in Blue Earth and Wells Concrete Products in Wells offering tours.