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Township supports sportsmen's club mining proposal
June 8, 2018

BY GABE LICHT
Editor

DELANO, MN – A conditional use permit for RAM Buildings and Excavating to mine gravel and sand at property owned by the Delano Sportsmen’s Club on Wright County Road 17 northeast of Delano will go before the Wright County Planning Commission Thursday, June 28, and will do so with the blessing of the Franklin Township Board, following the board’s unanimous approval Monday.

That is if the project follows all Wright County and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources requirements and if there is no truck traffic on township roads unless it is deemed necessary in order to complete local work.

Chair Bill McMullen said after the meeting that the board is largely deferring to the county on the issue.

“We acknowledge that something this complex is beyond our expertise level at the township,” McMullen said. “We prefer to defer to the county to make the right judgment. It’s not like a zoning change, or something like that, when we have some expertise . . . There are so many agencies involved: the DNR, (Wright) Soil and Water (Conservation District), and the county. All we want to do is protect our roads for the best.”

Per draft minutes from the meeting, the board learned that a previous request to mine the site did not review all the flood plain information with the county and planned to fill the flood plain, which RAM will not do.

RAM representative Joe White had previously stated the project would take no more than 10 years. He added Monday that it could be done in as few as five years.

In related business, the township received a noise assessment for the sportsmen’s club stating it is possible to create the three new trapshooting ranges that have been proposed without exceeding the statutory noise limits. Once again, the township will defer to the county regarding the matter.

Otta Seal
After receiving two bids within 2 cents per square yard of each other, the board unanimously voted to accept a bid of $5.16 per yard, or about $61,920 total, from Allied Blacktop Company, of Maple Grove, to apply the alternative bituminous material known as Otta Seal to about a mile of Eastwood Avenue.

Astech Corp., of St. Joseph, had submitted a bid of $5.14 per yard, or about $61,680.

While the bids were close in price, they were significantly different in specifics.

Allied proposed applying 45 pounds per lift, with one application in early summer and a second application in late summer or early fall, while Astech proposed applying both lifts in the same day. Additionally, Allied proposed supplying gravel as part of the Otta Seal process, due to the township’s granite being too large for the company’s machine, while Astech proposed putting the township’s granite through its machine.

In previous discussion, the board had noted research stating that doing two applications at two separate times would yield the best results.

After discussion, McMullen moved to accept the Allied bid and start the project immediately, and Supervisor Mike Barfknecht seconded it.

In related business, the board accepted a donation of $20,004 from the Rice Lake Retreat Homeowners Association for the project.

Odds and ends
In other business, the board:

• learned the township did not receive a grant for 40th Street improvements, but did not know why, or what the township could do differently to increase the odds of a grant being awarded for the project in the future. Clerk/Treasurer Stephanie Russek will research that information and report back to the board before reapplying for funds, which must be done by Nov. 1. Without the grant funding, no significant work on the road will take place in 2018.

• discussed application of granite to roads, which was set to be complete in one more day. Granite-application projects for 2019 include 107th, 117th, and 118th streets, and a portion of Ahern Avenue.

• approved a fuel contract with Beaudry Oils at a locked-in rate of $2.579 per gallon, up from a rate of $1.97 per gallon, according to McMullen.

• learned that Russek had submitted a complaint regarding Frontier Communications with the Minnesota Department of Commerce, which solicited comments as part of an investigation into the company. The three-page letter includes Russek’s conversation history with Manager of Government and External Affairs Scott Bohler regarding concerns the board and residents had with the company, and the service it provides. Russek concluded her letter by stating, “We feel Frontier Communications is negligent, and we fully support your investigation. If I can be of any further help to you, please do not hesitate to contact me.”

• heard from resident Matt Daly regarding a high-speed internet solution from the company Xtratyme, of Dassel. The company will present more information to the board at the next meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, July 1.

• awarded a bid of $2,322 to Astech for crack sealing 57th Street and Fenning Avenue.

In other township news, the board learned Thursday that Meridian Avenue will be closed between Highway 12 and 72nd Street for about two weeks beginning Monday due to a bridge replacement.

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