The Rice County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously today to deny a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) request in Section 13, Morristown Township.

The Planning Commission had recommended approval with 16 conditions.

The description in the Commissioners Board Packet states the CUP would be for a contractor's office and yard with outdoor storage for a transportation business.

The site is located on the south side of County Road 71 (230th St. West) 1.5 miles northeast of Morristown.

Mary Tonjum is working on behalf of the Witte Estate, owners of the property and told the Planning Commission Mahamad Ali is hoping to purchase the 40 acres for storage only for his trucking business.

Ali wants to store up to 60 trucks and trailers over the winter months at the Rice County location. Business home base is Shakopee. Ali resides in Minneapolis.  Business name is MLQ Freight, LLC.

Witte Brothers is the neighbor to the east sharing the drive presently but they would be seperated if this goes through.

The area is zoned Agricultural and several landowners in the area did express concern about the CUP request.

Ali told the Planning Commission his business plan to run trucks November through April and store in Rice County the other months was driven by the fact that, "Most of my drivers are immigrants and many of them have their wives and families out of the country, so during the winter months they are mostly traveling and I am left with a bunch of equipment with no place to park."

Commissioner Jeff Docken made a motion to deny, seconded by Dave Miller.  Commissioners Jim Purfeerst and Steve Underdahl also commented their belief the requested use is not the best fit for the area.

Rice County Attorney John Fossum recommended Commissioners extend the period to provide detailed findings for the denial 60 days and adopt them at their next meeting in 21 days.

Fossum said he was requesting the 60 days because it is a statutory requirement.

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