StateLine plan gets by hurdle

BLUE EARTH – StateLine Cooperative has taken another step toward building a grain facility in rural Faribault County.

The county Planning and Zoning board is sending a recommendation to county commissioners to grant a conditional use permit to the Burt, Iowa, company. Commissioners will consider it Tuesday.

StateLine has been seeking approval from county entities to build a $7 million grain facility with a 1.7-million bushel capacity. StateLine plans to build it on 30 acres along County Road 16, just east of Guckeen. The company has a purchase agreement on the land, pending the outcome of the conditional use permit, said Michele Stindtman, program administrator for Faribault County Soil & Water.

In May, commissioners approved a 12-year abatement for the facility on the county’s portion of property taxes, beginning in 2016.

The permit approved by the Planning and Zoning board includes 14 conditions. Many are standard, Stindtman said, regarding compliance with federal, state and local laws. One is different from the norm.

“There is a requirement to install a right-hand turn lane and a left turn bypass lane,” she said.

The additional lanes are required by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. There also is some concern about how additional traffic will affect the road.

The county and company are trying to address the concerns of neighbors.

“Loading and unloading will be done under cover to cut down on noise and dust,” said Stindtman, adding that other arrangements might be made if the need arises.

Company CEO Larry Sterk has said he wants to get started on the project as soon as possible.

“I’d like to move dirt in July or August,” he said. “Get the infrastructure done before winter so we can work through winter.”

Phase 1 will involve building the grain facility, which StateLine has two years to complete.

“They plan to take product in the fall of 2014,” Stindtman said.

Construction planned for sometime in the future includes Phase 2, additional storage, and Phase 2B, an agronomy facility.