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Planning Commission gives okay on two permits

Fri, May 18th, 2007
Posted in Government

PRESTON - On Thursday, May 17, the Fillmore County Planning & Zoning Commission met to review two Conditional Use Permits (CUPs) and review zoning ordinances 7 - 9 with the public.

Big Springs Quarry

A representative from Knife River Midwest, LLC of Decorah, Ia. petitioned to renew a CUP to operate the existing Big Springs Quarry on property located in an agricultural district approximately 2 miles west of Harmony. During the discussion period Commissioner Duane Bakke asked to verify the quarry's boundaries. After this was explained neither the public or the commission had further questions. The CUP was approved, pending ratification by the county board.

Lanesboro 250 Sand Pit

The Knife River representative also petitioned to renew a CUP to operate the existing Lanesboro 250 Sand Pit on property in Carrolton Township. The pit is located in an agricultural district and approximately one mile north of Lanesboro. Initially the commission had no questions. When the discussion was opened up to the public, Arlen Johnson, owner of a nearby housing subdivision, and many residents of the subdivision raised concerns.

It appears that due to the heavy truck traffic on this road the dust problem for the area is very severe. Johnson stated "we can't hang clothes outside or anything" due to the excess dust. Years prior, the previous pit operators had promised to maintain the road for dust control - and had made attempts to do so. However, due to the increased truck activity these measures have not been satisfactory for the area's residents. This could also be caused because of the ownership of the roads - a segment of the road causing this problem is owned by the township and another is an easement for the pit. Knife River representatives stated that they were unaware of the problem and would work to lay a sap treatment for the dust from highway 250 to the pit during the period that the pit is operated.

The second problem raised was the speed of the trucks traveling to and from the pit. Many stated that a 30 mph sign had been posted near the pit and within the subdivision the speed was 10 mph. In their opinion these trucks have been traveling excessively fast - some surmising that the trucks have been traveling 40 to 50 mph. Subdivision residents Dick Haight and Bryce Dawson both raised instances where they, their families or tourists on the bike trail had narrowly missed an accident due to the speeding trucks. All reported that this issue was an accident waiting to happen.

Again, Knife River representatives stated they were unaware of the problem due to new ownership of the pit. They committed to speaking with their truck drivers to alleviate the problem.

Following these points the commission investigated whether the pit was in violation of state and county ordinances concerning the trail. This ordinance was pulled for review; it was found that new activity in the pit should not take place within 50' of the trail and/or the pit's borders. When the commission compared the pit's map they determined the pit was not in violation and probably would not be in the future. Concluding this discussion, the commission approved the CUP petition with conditions concerning dust control, boundaries, trespassing signs, speed limits and complying with all county, state and federal requirements. Additionally it was requested that Knife River provide the county with a plan on how the company plans to repair the area after use. The permit will go to the county board for final approval.

Ordinance Review

Following the CUP discussions the Commission held a public hearing on Zoning Ordinance sections 7 - 9. For information on these ordinances and the hearing feedback please visit the Zoning website at

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