Commissioners table ditch project

NEW ULM – After nearly an hour of discussion Tuesday, Brown County commissioners tabled action on a repair request for a private driveway/bridge built over County Ditch (CD) 4 in Home Township in 1988.

According to a March 4, letter from Leon Hoffmann to the county auditor and commissioners regarding CD 4 drainage issues, a private driveway and 36-inch culvert were added in 1988 that caused a pinch point, lessening flow rate for the ditch that has been considerable pattern tiling to the north and west, increasing the flow rate.

Hoffmann wrote that last summer, the far north and west branch on his property were cleaned and a spillway on the far north branch in Section 21 was put in place.

“We need to finish the job so flow rates can return to normal with a 54-inch culvert and Roger Marti can get a safe driveway,” Hoffmann wrote. “The determination of assessments of benefits should be looked at and be brought up to date as soon as possible. We have a lot invested in CD 4, and want it to be kept in good working order, and that assessments be fairly distributed.”

According to May 10, 1988 county board meeting minutes in the Request for Board Action (RBA), Roger Marti requested permission to construct a private driveway across CD 4, understanding that the entire cost and future repairs would be borne by himself.

Engineer G. R. Schnobrich recommended a 36-inch culvert be placed in the driveway and said he would monitor the project for proper grade and driveway slope. Notification was sent to all landowners on CD 4, informing them of Marti’s intentions. With no opposition at the hearing, commissioners authorized Marti to proceed with driveway construction, according to 1988 board minutes.

Commissioner Andy Lochner said Tuesday an engineering study is needed to determine what size tile should be used for updating the project that would require filing a petition to the county board.

“It seems you have a lot of support from your neighbors, which is great,” Brown County Attorney Bob Hinnenthal said. “We can’t assess costs outside the (ditch) system. …The law says public money can’t be used for a private crossing.”

Commissioner Dennis Potter said the board agrees the project needs to be done, subject to an engineering report, at landowner expense.

Commissioners approved:

Buying a $66,476.25 pothole patcher for the county highway department from Swanston Equipment Companies. The patcher was preferred over a $64,982.23 bid from Brock White because the Swanston unit would have less maintenance issues since it has no hydraulics or auger system.

Planning Commission recommendations for Conditional Use Permits (CUP) of Redwood Tel Acquisition, Inc. in Home Township, allowing continued use of a 240-foot microwave/cellular tower as a communications facility in the A-A Agricultural Protection Zone; and a CUP of Christopher and Lori Hacker in Eden Township, to continue to allow up to 1,920 head (576 AU) in a hog wean- to-finish operation and continued use of an existing 100-foot by 165-foot by 10-foot and 55-foot by 165-foot by 10-foot, two-stage, earthen basin in the A-1 Agricultural Protection Zone. Conditions include allowing onsite feedlot inspections to ensure compliance with all state and county standards and requirements.

A Certificate of Recognition awarded to Brown County Parks for its soil and water conservation efforts in 2012 for the restoration of native prairie and habitat. The County Parks Department and STS crew helped burn about 100 acres in the east half of Mound Creek County Park. The burn reduced the amount of non-native and noxious weeds plus spurred growth of native species already in the park. The burn plan and burn were done by Prairie Restorations Inc.

Adoption of the Brown County Open Burning Ordinance no longer requiring permits to burn brush piles. Residents wishing to burn still need to contact Brown County dispatch officials to inform them of burn locations.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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