County board delays vote on popular permit

Mille Lacs County Times

Grant VanWyngeeren’s plans for a metal recycling center about three and a half miles north of Milaca took a detour at the Feb. 7 meeting of the Mille Lacs County Board.

Commissioners, after a half-hour discussion, decided to send his request for a conditional use permit (CUP) back to the county’s planning commission, meanwhile extending the review period for VanWyngereen’s request by 60 days.

VanWyngereen made his request for the CUP at the Jan. 9 meeting of the Mille Lacs County Planning Commission.

He told commission members that he intended to purchase material from within a 30-mile radius and then process the items at his Brainerd facility, with no shredding, torching or crushing taking place on site. He said also there would be no draining of fluids at the Milaca Township site.

A number of people spoke at the public hearing on Jan. 9, most expressing concerns.

For example, neighbor Carla Bruggeman said she didn’t think the permit process was fair. She said the applicant had already made substantial improvements at the site because he was sure he would get the permit.

Dennis Nelson, chair of the Milaca Township Board and speaking on behalf of the board, said the board felt granting the request would be good for economic development.

Discussion continued at the planning commission meeting, one member noting that he thought the property was zoned commercial in the early 1990s. (It turned out to be 1988.)

The commission passed a motion to recommend approval of the request, with 16 conditions to meet. The vote was 4-2, Randy Murrah and Robert Hoefert voting against.