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Dodge County approves feedlot zoning amendment change

MANTORVILLE — Dodge County commissioners asked specific, pointed questions Tuesday before unanimously approving a feedlot zoning amendment change recommended last week by the county planning commission.

The changes were prompted by two lawsuits against the county alleging that the commissioners had not followed their own zoning regulations when approving a new 2,400-hog feedlot near Blooming Prairie. Dodge County District Judge Jodi Williamson ruled in favor of Lowell and Evelyn Trom in the first lawsuit, while the second has yet to be decided.

Dodge County officials contend that the new language streamlines the process. Critics argue that it's a targeted amendment that's prohibited by Minnesota statute. Sonja Trom Earyes, a Minneapolis attorney and the daughter of Lowell and Evelyn Trom, had previously said another lawsuit could be filed if Dodge County approved the zoning change.

Public meetings involving feedlots have been contentious during the last 12 months, but Tuesday's meeting was more subdued. Environmental Services Director Mark Gamm and County Attorney Paul Kiltinen had said no public hearing was required. The vote was an expected decision so the crowd was sparse.

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