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Minnesota county’s zoning board approves trio of hog barns

WORTHINGTON, Minn. -- Despite concerns from a neighboring property owner, a rural Rushmore man will be allowed to construct a 51-by-408-foot total confinement barn to house 2,400 head of finishing pigs in the northwest quarter of the southwest qu...

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WORTHINGTON, Minn. - Despite concerns from a neighboring property owner, a rural Rushmore man will be allowed to construct a 51-by-408-foot total confinement barn to house 2,400 head of finishing pigs in the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 2, Little Rock Township.

Tyler Bullerman was granted his request to build the barn, with a concrete pit below, just 917 feet from Herman Duin’s home. The original request was to also place the barn 30 feet from Duin’s secondary driveway, which marks the property line, but the Nobles County Zoning Board of Adjustment pushed the setback to 100 feet during a Wednesday evening meeting. The third setback Bullerman requested was to build the barn 150 feet from the center of the township road.

County ordinance requires a 275-foot setback from the center of a township road, a 30-foot setback from a property line and a 1,980-foot setback from a neighboring residence.

Bullerman appeared before the board to state he wanted to move the barn closer to the road to create as much distance between the barn and the Duin home as possible. He said the barn will house wean-to-finish pigs, with side curtains and a center load-out on the south side.

“Is there another option on that quarter?” asked Duin about the proposed location for the barn. While the farm belongs to his parents, Duin said he lives there and the barn will be too close.

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“It’s in my backyard … instead of closer to their backyard,” he said.

Bullerman said the site was selected because it was the highest spot. Lower lying land in the quarter tends to have standing water after rains. He also said moving it to the opposite corner would put it too close to two other farms, and in close proximity to other hog barns.

Donna Alm, a sister to Duin, said she was concerned about Duin’s significant other, who has allergies.

“That should be considered, too,” she said.

Another sister, Linda Steen, said she was concerned the barn was just too close. She said she lives within a half mile of a hog barn and smells the odors.

“If this is going to be a quarter mile, it’s going to be really bad - it’s going to devalue the property,” Steen said.

Zoning board member Brent Feikema said he thought the location for the hog barn was too close to Duin’s driveway.

“If that’s his main driveway and it comes with the farm, I’d hate to have a hog barn right there,” Feikema said.

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“I have nothing to gain by this; I have everything to lose,” Duin said.

Despite comments from the board that the barn could be located elsewhere and that the amount of land Bullerman planned to purchase for the barn was not enough, the board voted unanimously to grant the variance with conditions that Bullerman use odor control measures in the barn, provide dead animal containment and incorporate manure.

In other action, the zoning board:

  • Approved a request from Derek Erlandson, Rushmore, to vary from the required one-mile setback from a city to construct a 72-by-228-foot total confinement nursery barn to house 4,000 head of nursery pigs in the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter (north of the railroad) of Section 24, Olney Township.

Erlandson sought a variance to construct the swine barn 300 feet too close to Rushmore’s city limits. Due to the proximity of a nearby stream, he said he isn’t able to meet the separation distance from the city limits.
During public testimony on the request, Nobles County Environmental Services Director Wayne Smith said he received a letter from the city of Rushmore asking that if the barn be permitted, trees be required on the site, pit additives be used and manure be incorporated.

“We’re just concerned about the odor,” said Rushmore City Clerk Coleen Gruis. “We feel the trees would be a help if he can put a tree barrier between the south and east.”

Erlandson agreed to comply with the city’s requests.

Carol Neyens of Rushmore also spoke during the public testimony, saying she was also concerned about the odor.

The board’s approval of the variance came with conditions that there be at least three rows of trees planted on the south and east sides of the barn, pit additives be used and manure be incorporated.

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  • Approved a request from Andy Weiss, Adrian, to vary from the required 275 feet from the center line of a township road, and to vary from the required 1,980-foot setback from a neighboring residence, to construct a 120-by-240-foot swine nursery barn to hold 6,000 head in the south half of the southwest quarter of Section 28, Larkin Township. 

The variance allows Weiss to construct the barn 1,310 feet from the neighboring residence, 100 feet from the south road center line and 175 feet from the west road center line. Conditions placed on the request include that Weiss provide dead animal containment on site and incorporate the manure.

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