By Ivan Raconteur
Bergen Township recommended approval of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for gravel mining on the Kerry Wuetherich property southeast of Lester Prairie, but is concerned about granting an exemption to allow gravel hauling while road restrictions are in place.
The McLeod County Planning Commission considered the request during its February 28 meeting.
The key issue centered not on the mining operation at the 23-acre site, but on the haul route, which runs along 175th Street (a township road) from Zero Avenue to McLeod County Road 9, and then north to Highway 7.
Randy Huiras represented the applicant, Mathiowetz Construction at the meeting, and said the company would like to begin hauling gravel April 15.
“We have to be careful about that. There are other gravel haulers in the township,” Bergen Township Supervisor Francis Burch said. He added that if the township made an exception allowing one company to haul gravel during spring road restrictions, it would have to do the same for other companies.
“I understand Fran’s concern. If you allow one to do it, you’d have to allow others,” commented McLeod County Commissioner Ray Bayerl.
Huiras said the company expects to have 15-20 trucks hauling gravel at one time, and this means there would be one traveling on 175th Street every eight-to-10 minutes.
“We would be hauling 10,000 tons in a good week. Local haulers typically haul a lot less. We wouldn’t have an issue (with paying to repair any damage to the road) if we were hauling a lot and they were hauling a little,” Huiras said in response to questions about who would pay to maintain the road.
He said the company would keep a blade and a water truck at the pit to maintain the haul route while the company was using it.
Huiras explained that the typical procedure is for a survey inspection to be completed before hauling begins. This includes videotaping the road and includes MnDOT representatives. The road will need to be brought back to the same condition when the company completes its work in the pit.
Huiras said the company will use calcium chloride for dust control.
The commission recommended approval of the CUP, on the condition that the company work out a road restoration bond amount suitable to the township. The company is expected to attend the Thursday, March 13 township meeting to work out an agreement regarding the bond and hauling prior to road restrictions being lifted.
The county board will consider approval of the CUP during its Tuesday, March 18 meeting.