Board tables gravel mine requests

NEW ULM — Brown County commissioners unanimously approved resolutions to table conditional use permit (CUP) applications to renew existing gravel mine operation permits in sections 29 and 32 in North Star Township, Tuesday.

The resolution to table action to the May 22 meeting, came after commissioners heard a complaint of gravel trucks operating prior to the 7 a.m. hauling hour start according to the permit, speeding, and hauling before a permit was approved this year.

“Speed has been a concern. One truck goes slow, another like a ‘banshee’,” said Laura Halvorson. “They run at 6:30 a.m. My husband photographed them. They just don’t obey. Nobody can do anything about it except you guys. And the roads are bad.”

Commissioner Dave Borchert suggested putting up a speed recording device owned by the New Ulm Police Department that is currently being used in Sleepy Eye.

North Star Township Supervisor Ron Groebner said he farms around the gravel mine. He said gravel trucks don’t get to 35 miles per hour (the haul route speed limit).

“It’s too short a distance to get a fully-loaded truck to that speed,” Groebner said. “The Brown County Sheriff didn’t clock anybody there at more than 28 miles per hour. There are frost boils north and south of the Halvorsons…”

Groebner said the problem is with independent haulers that don’t know the haul routes in advance.

“They don’t have a permit yet,” said Commissioner Dennis Potter. “It’s frustrating to me. I live near this.”

Sletta said he would combine a trip to Mound Creek Park with a visit to the gravel mine and talk to people about it.

Commissioners unanimously approved:

• A CUP application by Chris Schewe on property owned by K&S Farms, Section 8, Stark Township, to renew an existing CUP and continue to allow up to 600 AU (2,000 head) maximum capacity in a hog wean to finish operation, all in the A-1 Agricultural Protection Zoning District.

• An application filed by Scott Vogel on property owned by Timothy and Jill Vogel in Section 8, Burnstown Township to allow up to 748.5 AU (2,495 head) in a new total confinement hog finishing operation all in the A-1 Zone.

• The purchase of “recapture” bags May 15 using SCORE recycling funds from Blue Lakes Plastics to start an agricultural plastic recycling program.

Brown County Recycling has been in contact with livestock producers and other agricultural producers of agricultural plastic for a number of years in an attempt to start an agricultural recycling program.

Since the early 2000s, the use of plastic on farms has increased, especially with livestock producers who are using it to cover silage, round bails or to cover feed bunkers. The plastic use gives farmers better feed storage and saves time, but dealing with the used plastic has been a problem.

The process has been successful because it not only recycles plastic but it is used in the firm’s own products. The program uses “re-capture” bags that can hold up to 200 pounds each and can be loaded by hand of packed with a skid-steer. The bags cost $28 for a roll of 5 bags plus shipping. The company will pick up the bags at no charge if up to 120 bags are consolidated at one location.

Brown County Recycling will help find a location for the bag drop-off and loading of bags on a semi.

Brown County Recycling plan to start the program and propose buying two rolls of bags per farm that signs up. After a trial run, producers wold need to pay for the bags themselves if they want to stay in the program.

A bag hand-out day is planned in which demonstrations on how to load bags on the farm will be done.

Brown County Recycling proposed to buy 20 boxes of bags, two rolls per box to start. Each box of bags (two rolls per bag) costs $54 plus about $8 shipping. Twenty boxes plus shipping would cost about $1,240. The purchase would be funded with SCORE recycling funds.

• Bridge replacement and approach work on County Road 20 over Judicial Ditch (JD) 10, one mile north of Hanska. A steel arch pipe needs replacement. The project has been hydraulically-sized to need a 10 foot by 7 foot pre-cast, concrete box culvert. The project is scheduled to begin on or before July 30 and be done within 30 working days. The highway department recommends the low bid of $271,846, 15.2 percent under estimate, is from Midwest Contracting, LLC. Funding is regular construction funds.

• Timber bridge replacement and approach work on 250th Street over JD 30, Prairieville Township. The project has been hydraulically-sized to need a 16 foot by 12 foot pre-ast concrete box culvert. Funding comes from town bridge funds and $10,000 in local, Prairieville funds.

• A $3,500 proposal from Keystone Compensation Group, LLC, for compensation consulting services for a non-union salary range schedule.

• John Bode’s petition in Linden Township to outlet into County Ditch (CD) 63. After limited discussion, a public hearing will be continued at 11 a.m. May 22 to the need to re-mail notices to CD 63 landowners.

• Mike Ruetten of GEI, Inc.’s report on the landfill re-permitting process that is being worked on with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to obtain a new permit.

A condition of the new permit is that the current spray field can be used to apply leachate until Dec. 31, 2021. An MPCA review of the leachate application process will take place through he Demonstration Research Project (DRP) due Dec. 31. Permit requirements include submitting a revised Leachate Management Plan within 45 days.

“There is a lot of public utility with the landfill if we can manage the leachate,” Brown County Administrator Chuck Enter said.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at