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Final approval for county’s first industrial sand mine

Fri, May 31st, 2013
Posted in All Government

After a nearly year long moratorium, months of Sand Committee meetings, the contributions of a great deal of time and effort by area residents to influence the process and considerable county staff time, the first conditional use permit (CUP) for an industrial sand mine was unanimously approved at the county board’s May 28 meeting.

The CUP application for the Rein Quarry Expansion owned by John and Sandra Rein, Section 35 Holt Township, will allow the quarry to be increased to 50 acres, which is the maximum size allowed in the county’s zoning ordinance Section 736 that regulates industrial mining. Zoning Administrator Chris Graves reviewed the application process including the completion of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet, the board’s decision to not require a more comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement, and the public hearing on May 16 held by the Planning Commission and their subsequent unanimous recommendation to the county board for approval.

Graves said the plans for the expansion meet the requirements of Section 736 and that no comments were made against the project by the public. The Planning Commission approved the project with 16 conditions, most of which were requirements outlined in Section 36. The county board approved the CUP with the same conditions. Some conditions include the following: Any regulations in force or additional regulations implemented by federal, state, or local government agencies at a later date must be complied with. If a sinkhole forms in the quarry, activity will cease until the appropriate agency decides how to mitigate the problem. “The Zoning Administrator and zoning employees will not be permitted employment by Reilly Construction or its successors for a period of two years.”

Reporter’s note: The last condition was reported incorrectly in the article “CUPs for Rein Quarry and Old Barn go forward to the County Board,” which appeared on page 22 in the May 27 issue of the Fillmore County Journal. The employment restriction is only for 2 years, not 12 years.

Commissioner Chuck Amunrud asked for some clarification on the road impact fee. Graves said it will be kept in a separate fund that does not have a cap. It will build up over time and any balance that is not used to restore road condition over the life of the mining operation will be returned after the operation ceases.

Commissioner Tom Kaase who chaired the Sand Committee thanked everyone involved in the process, which began with the moratorium in February of 2012, for their work and time. He singled out Commissioner Duane Bakke for all of his work and for taking the lead on this issue.

Old Barn Expansion

The CUP application for the Old Barn Resort campground expansion, located in Section 21 Carrolton Township and owned by Shirley Endres and Doug Brenna, was to increase the number of seasonal campsites by 108 sites. There currently are a total of 172 campsites. The new sites will be located out of the flood plain between the river and the existing sites on the west side of the campground.

Graves reported that the public hearing was held at the May 16 Planning Commission and the commission unanimously recommended sending the CUP to the county board for approval. An EAW had been completed and the county board did not require an EIS. The reason for the expansion is to meet the demand for additional campsites.

The board discussed the condition of Heron Road. Bakke said every year the township pays the county to fill potholes. There is discussion on what can be done to further upgrade the road. The yield sign at the intersection of County Road 17 and Heron Road has been replaced with a stop sign. Warning signs are expected to be put up to caution motorists about pedestrians or children. Bakke added there is no vehicle travel across the bridge on Heron Road, but noted that some people park and walk across the bridge to access the resort.

Two conditions were added to the CUP. One requires the owners to install a sign at the exit of the campground advising traffic to beware of bicycle and pedestrian traffic on Heron Road to County Road 17. The second condition requires the owners to develop an educational brochure warning of various kinds of traffic on Heron Road to County Road 17, which is to be distributed to all seasonal, weekend, and daily campground renters. The CUP received unanimous final approval with the two conditions.

Feedlots Approved

Two CUP applications for swine feedlots were approved. Brian Erickson, Section 32 Carimona Township, applied to build a wean to finish total confinement swine operation for 2,400 hogs with 100 percent of the manure to be transferred to Mensink Farms. Kyle and Travis Duxbury, Section 12 Fillmore Township, applied to increase an existing 1,000 head swine finishing operation to 2,200 head. They would be building a second total confinement building. Both plans meet MPCA rules governing feedlot operations. At the May 16 Planning Commission meeting there were public hearings for both applications, and the Planning Commission voted to send both to the county board for final approval with one condition on each. The condition required that there be no on-road parking for loading or unloading of manure.

Bakke said both feedlots will have to haul manure from one to five miles. Both will use semi trucks to haul the manure and apply with drag lines. Bakke said this was preferable to the use of manure wagons.

There was some discussion about the condition to require off road loading and unloading of manure. Bakke said the condition could be worded to require compliance with all MnDOT regulations. Chairman Randy Dahl said, “We don’t allow sand to be loaded on the road or trucks to be parked on the road.” He said there is no difference. Dahl explained that he has observed that gravel pads have been installed in fields to allow for a semi to be parked in the field and off the road. The CUPs were both unanimously approved as presented with the condition that required there be no on-road parking for loading or unloading of manure.

Business In Brief

•Approval was given for a payment of $25,532.75 on the Xerox tax/computer Aided Mass Appraisal (CAMA) upgrade project. This is a partial payment for the five phase project which will have a total cost over $260,000 to be paid over the years ending in 2016. The payment comes out of Un-allocated funds. Amunrud made it clear that the payment comes out of recording fees and not the tax levy.

Assessor Cynthia Blagsvedt and Kandace Johnson, auditor/treasurer office, updated the board on the Land Records Management System, CAMA and tax software programs and the progress being made in the first phase of the project.

•Kevin Balvanz presented the 2013 annual report for Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT) which is a joint powers entity and pools resources for 81 of the state’s 87 counties to provide property, casualty and workers’ compensation coverage to its members.

•The board approved the application and agreement for credit card purchases of aviation fuel. Pam Schroeder, Highway, said there is aviation fuel in the tank and they should be up and running soon.

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