Board OKs zoning change, conditional use for co-op

Published 10:36 am Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Mower County Board on Tuesday unanimously agreed to grant a conditional use permit to Northern Country Co-op that will allow the ag processing company to expand its operation in Lansing Township.

Commissioners earlier agreed to the needed rezoning of the property, from Rural Service Center to Rural Management, another requirement of the new construction.

Both actions, on a 4-0 vote with Mike Ankeny absent, were taken upon the positive recommendation of the Mower County Planning Commission.

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Unlike last November when some neighbors showed opposition to the construction, no one spoke against the plan on Tuesday.

With the go-ahead, the cooperative will move forward in building a new state-of-the-art grain receiving and handling plant that includes the construction of a $18-$25 million train “loop track.”

The cooperative will, after the construction is complete, be ready to receive and store up to 3.5 million bushels of corn in bins in addition to two, 2 million bushel ground storage piles located inside the loop of the new train track, according to information provided through its Environmental Assessment Worksheet.

Employees will also be able to load 130-car unit trains onto the Canadian Pacific Railway. The new construction will be located in Section 10, west of the village of Lansing on County Highway 2. No Environmental Impact Statement was deemed necessary.

Northern Country Co-op also conducted upgrades of its operation in the village of Lansing.

In other business Tuesday, the board:

•Agreed on a 4-0 vote to grant a conditional use permit to Joe Landherr who wants to build a mini-storage at the location, as well as have a maple syrup production line and a wood splitting operation in Section 35 of Windom Township. No sale of the items will be done at the site.

•Agreed to grant Patrick and Angela Harty a five-year tax abatement under a new housing initiative in Austin. The Hartys will build a residence on Sixth Street Northeast at an estimated cost of $450,000. The Austin School Board agreed to the rebate last month and the city of Austin will consider the request at its next meeting. Hartys will pay the bare land taxes, while the increases that would normally result with the new building will be waived for five years.