County approves conditional use permits during Thursday meeting

Published 5:25 pm Friday, December 3, 2021

During a rare Thursday morning meeting, the Mower County Board of Commissioners approved four conditional use permits.

The permits included a storage facility on the north edge of Austin along 534th Avenue, a private property located in the county, a property used for storage and sand and gravel processing and a proposed grave mining operation by Ulland Bros.

It was the sand and gravel processing property that drew the most attention of commissioners, which drew nuisance concerns and even an objection from the City of Austin.

The property in question, which is actually three separate properties,  is owned by Timothy W. Bustad and sits just north of the Creekside Business Park along Highway 218. It’s this park, which is the site of new Nu-Tek building currently under construction, that was at the center of concerns for the city:

• It was too small a parcel and wouldn’t muffle noise and vibrations enough;

• Conditions of the permit were too broad; and

• Nuisance conditions could work against further prospective development of Creekside.

Ultimately, the board approved the permit, with modifications to the original plan, which includes the building of a 10-foot earthen berm that would help with noise concerns.

“A berm that high should stop a lot of the noise,” Bustad told the board

There is also to be a sprinkler system utilized at the site to knock down dust.

When operational, the processing site would run one to two hours a day and would process around 1,000 cubic yards of product.

The Ulland Bros. permit is for a gravel pit roughly halfway between Austin and Lansing along 540th Avenue, but with an access that will come in off of Highway 218 to avoid unnecessary disturbances to surrounding properties.

Plans call for a 38-acre project, split into two section of around 19 acres each, which in turn will be split into two more sections each.

In other news

• The board honored Dispatch Supervisor Rick Eggert for his 25 years of public service at the start of Thursday’s meeting.

Eggert has been with Mower County for seven of those 25 years.

“I want to thank everybody for giving me the opportunity, but it’s time to move on,” Eggert said.

Chief Deputy Mark May remarked on Eggert’s determination during his time with the county.

“He is going to be sadly missed,” May said. “It’s going to be some big shoes to fill. We’re going to miss him and I wish him the best of luck.”

• The board also gave the nod to a plan that would allow the county to recoup around $15,000 in training funds for a new deputy.

The plan, presented by Human Resources Director Kristina Kohn, would allow for the Sheriff’s Office to promote a deputy to captain from within, freeing up a spot for hiring a new deputy.

If that deputy can be brought on the books by the end of the year, the county would save that money.

“What we found out is that if that deputy works one day in 2021, the county would receive all training funds for the entire year, approximately $15,000,” Kohn said.