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CUPs for Rein Quarry and Old Barn go forward to the County Board

Fri, May 24th, 2013
Posted in All Government

By Karen Reisner

The Planning Commission had a full agenda with four public hearings at their May 16 meeting. CUPs were considered for the Rein Quarry expansion, Old Barn campground expansion, Erickson feedlot, and Duxbury feedlot expansion. In addition a draft of an ordinance regulating Wineries in the Ag District was discussed.

Rein Quarry Expansion

John and Sandra Rein, Section 35 Holt Township, had applied to expand their sand pit from 18.36 acres to 50 acres, which is the maximum allowed under Ordinance 736 for industrial mining. This is the first CUP to be considered under the new ordinance. The county board, at their April 23 meeting after reviewing the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW), decided not to require a more detailed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The industrial mine (silica sand) is to be operated by Larry Thompson, Reilly Construction, Inc. G-Cubed Engineering prepared a detailed “Operation and Reclamation Plan” for the Rein Quarry. The plan includes topographical, geological and hydrological information.

Duane Bakke asked Mark Welch, G-Cubed, about the storm water basin. Welch said the storm water basin moves as the mine moves and it is designed to withstand the largest impact scenario. It is over sized which is easy because of the space available and will handle heavy rains. Welch maintained there will be no opportunity for construction sediment to leave the site.

The area has been pastured for years. Welch believes there could be an opportunity for some native vegetation to come back in reclamation. Donna Rasmussen, SWCD, said she was satisfied with the plan and agreed there is not much native vegetation on the site now, after being pastured for many years.

The Road Impact Agreement is in place. The route would use county road 10 and State Highway 43 from there to Winona. Thompson said they have a $15 million liability umbrella.

Bakke read through a list of 16 conditions that would be part of the CUP. Most of the conditions spell out regulations that are already detailed in Ordinance 736. Condition 13 does not allow extraction or mining to be vertically closer than 100 feet to any groundwater or water table at the property. Condition 14 requires mining operations to comply fully with all regulations and standards implemented by federal, state, and local government agencies. Any additional regulations implemented by any of the agencies must be complied with. Condition 15 requires that operations cease if a sinkhole forms in the quarry until operators or appropriate agencies decide how to mitigate the issue. The county zoning department must be contacted immediately following the development of a sinkhole. Condition 16 does not allow the Zoning Administrator or zoning employees to gain employment with Reilly Construction or it’s successors for a period of 12 years.

There was some discussion about Condition 12 as worded; not to sell or remove black dirt or overburden. Welch explained the limestone cap could be crushed for limestone aggregate materials. He said it would be a relatively small volume. After some discussion, it was agreed that under an industrial sand pit CUP under Ordinance 736, construction materials could still be produced. Condition number 12 was redrafted and reads, “permittees will not sell or remove any black dirt, top soil or non-limestone materials removed to facilitate the extraction and mining of industrial minerals.” These materials are required to remain at the site for use in reclaiming the mining site.

If ownership of the property was transferred, Zoning Administrator Chris Graves said information would be required to assure continuity of management. He said the zoning department would be notified of a transfer of ownership. Bakke added there would be added oversight for awhile with the new owner. One of the conditions gives the zoning office full access to the property any time without prior notification.

There was no comment from the township. Bonita Underbakke, Holt Township, said she supported all the conditions and suggested that the bonding company have at least an A rating. She suggested the financial assurance be reviewed periodically due to the length of time the mine may operate.

Vern Crowson, Pilot Mound Township, asked about the containment area. Welch said if the owners wanted a pond later on (post mining), it would need to be lined to hold water. Crowson asked if haul-back materials would be tested, even recognizing that Winona says they don’t use flocculent or chemicals for processing. The ordinance does allow for testing of haul-back material. The Ordinance and conditions both make it clear that haul-back material must be free of flocculants or other chemicals. Crowson said a lot of folks have put a lot of time in on this project and he was pleased with the conflict of interest condition that doesn’t allow officials to jump ship and work for the mining company.

Graves said he appreciated the comments and patience of everyone involved during this long process. Chairman Gary Ruskell commended Graves and Bakke for all the work they put into it. Bakke said the Rein’s have been patient, the public has been well involved, adding “I think we have done a really good job putting this all together.”

The commission voted unanimously to send the CUP on to the county board.

Old Barn

A campground expansion consisting of 108 additional permanent seasonal sites at the Old Barn Resort co-owned by Shirley Endres and Doug Brenna, Carrolton Township, was approved unanimously. Endres explained the campground will be open from April 1 to November 1. The new sites will be located down the hill (at about a four or five foot lower elevation) from some existing camp sites, but will still be completely out of the flood plain.

There was no comment from the township and no negative comment from the public. All requirements including an EAW were in order.

Duxbury Hog Feedlot

Kyle and Travis Duxbury had applied to increase their existing 1000 head swine finishing operation to a total of 2200 head or from 300 animal units to 660 animal units. The operation is located in Section 12 Fillmore Township. The application is to build a second total confinement building and a new pit for finishing the additional 1200 head.

Planning Commission member Steve Duxbury abstained from voting, as the applicants are his nephews.

Mike Frauenkron, Feedlot Officer/Zoning Technician, noted everything meets MPCA rules governing feedlots. There was no comment from the township.

Commission member Jim Keune said he was getting concerned about the number of miles manure is being hauled on county roads. Duane Bakke said they have at times put some restrictions on hauling or talked applicants into changing some things to reduce hauling distance. He suggested there be off-road transfer.

The CUP was approved with one condition that there be no on-road parking for loading or unloading of manure.

Erickson Hog Feedlot

Brian Erickson, Section 32 Carimona Township, had applied to build a wean-to-finish total confinement swine operation for 2400 hogs, 750 total animal units. Thirty of those animal units are for 15 dry dairy cows.

One hundred percent of the manure would be transferred to Mensink Farms. Frauenkron noted everything was in compliance with MPCA rules. Arlynn Hovey, Carimona Township supervisor, said he had heard no negative comment from the township.

The CUP was approved with one condition that there be no on-road parking for loading or unloading manure.

County Board

All four CUPS will be considered for final approval at the board’s May 28 meeting.


Dean and Lisa Erickson have several acres of grapes along county road 17 south of Preston. Graves said they would like to make wine, sell wine, and hold small events or tours where they could have wine tasting and offer some appetizers. They hope to start in the fall of 2014.

Bakke explained there really isn’t an ordinance for this kind of business. Graves offered a possible draft ordinance for wineries in the Ag District, requiring a CUP. Bakke maintained they would need to make sure there wouldn’t be a full scale restaurant. Graves added they will need to comply with state statute. There was some discussion of appropriate language for an ordinance. An ordinance will be discussed further at a future meeting.

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