Wright County Board Minutes
JUNE 12, 2007
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Heeter, Mattson, Russek and Eichelberg present.
Russek presented requested corrections to the 6-05-07 County Board Meeting Minutes on behalf of Wayne Fingalson, County Engineer. The requested corrections were discussed, with Russek and Mattson requesting that the video tape be reviewed for accuracy on the Page 4, last paragraph, 9th line change. After discussion, Heeter made a motion to approve the minutes with the following corrections: Page 4, last paragraph, 4th line, from “…other project at TH 55/CR 12…” to “…other project at TH 12/CSAH 12…”; Page 4, last paragraph, 7th line, from “…down the TH 55/CR 134…” to “…down the TH 55/CSAH 12…”; Page 4, last paragraph, 9th line, from “…meet with Senator Amy Klobuchar and Hennepin County.” to “…meet with Senator Amy Klobuchar, since she is on the Senate Committee dealing with the Technical Corrections Bill.”; Page 5, second paragraph, 2nd line, from “…lobbyists would be attending. The lobbyists have invited…” to “…lobbyist would be attending. The lobbyist has invited…”; Page 5, fourth paragraph, 2nd to last line, from “…without the $1 million Technical Corrections Bill” to “…without the $1 million from the Technical Corrections Bill.”; and Page 5, fifth paragraph, fifth line from bottom, from “He felt their attendance was a major accomplishment.” to “He felt their attendance contributed to this major accomplishment.” The motion was seconded by Eichelberg, and carried by a vote of 5-0.
The following item was petitioned onto the Agenda: Items for Consid. #4 “Add An Alternate To The Regional Radio Board” (Heeter). On a motion by Heeter, seconded by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Agenda as amended.
On a motion by Heeter, second by Sawatzke, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as presented.
1. Performance Appraisals: B. Petersen, Admin.; T. Karvel, Atty.; A. Buskey, Bldg. Maint.; H. Gerads, S. Hoover, Sher./Corr.
2. Claim, George E. Karvel, $3,062.50, Service For May, 2007 RE: Onyx Landfill.
3. Approve/Authorize Signatures On School Resource Officer Contract, Monticello School District.
4. O/T Report, Period Ending 6-01-07.
5. Claim, Frank Madden, $12,521.30.
1. Approve Renewal Of On Sale Liquor License For “Silver Springs Golf Course” (Monticello Twp.).
2. Approve Renewal Of On/Off Sale Liquor License For “Lake Center Bar & Grill” (Corinna Twp.).
C. COURT SERVICES
1. Approve Personal Leave For Sara Peterson, Senior Clerk II, Effective 6-20-07 To 7-09-07.
D. PLANNING & ZONING
1. Accept The Findings & Recommendations Of The Planning Commission For The Following Rezonings:
A. Paul Joern (Maple Lake Twp.). Planning Commission unanimously recommend approval of the establishment of a Rural Planned Unit Development District for a maximum of six lots, according to the concept presented.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, submitted the claims listing for approval. The claims’ listing was discussed. Russek noted a Jail Medical Fee to the Monticello Big Lake Community Hospital (Page 8) for a jail patient that cost $55,255.61 in out-patient fees. Hiivala noted that there were relatively few departments who submitted claims; however Road and Bridge had numerous Highway Easement and Right-Of-Way payments at slightly over $164,000. Mattson asked if Hiivala had a breakdown of which addresses received ROW acquisition compensation. Hiivala stated that the Auditor’s Office will receive a copy of the contract; however Fingalson would be the primary contact to identify which specific parcels are being compensated. Mattson stated that he felt the easement payments were “out of hand” and inquired if there was a maximum. Russek stated that the Board had already approved the rates for the ROW purchases and clarified that these purchases are for CR 19 and CSAH 17. On a motion by Mattson, second by Heeter, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Kelly Lewis, Heart Safe Community Coordinator, stated that the Heart Safe Communities initiative was launched to save lives by increasing access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs). The use of AEDs has increased survivability during sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) which strikes more than 300,000 people each year. Each Wright County squad carries an AED. On 5-05-07, Wright County Sheriffs Deputy Lisa Goenner, along with Allina Ambulance (Paramedic Joe Latt and EMT Dan Wallin) and St. Michael Fire and Rescue responded to an incident involving Ron Wadsworth, in full cardiac arrest. Deputy Goenner was the first to arrive, and within minutes of the call applied the AED to Wadsworth which shocked his heart back into a normal rhythm. The patient was then transported to Mercy Hospital where he stayed in stable condition for a few days and is out living his life, with some therapy he does on a weekly basis. Lewis praised Deputy Goenner, Ron Wadsworth, Allina Ambulance Crew, and St. Michael Fire & Rescue by stating that they are another fine example of why having AED’s in the community is so important. Lewis introduced Wadsworth to the Board and had him recount his story. Wadsworth stated that it is a great day to be alive and to be able to thank Goenner, Allina Paramedics, St. Michael Fire and Rescue and Mercy Hospital. Wadsworth stated that he had 4 blocked arteries. Goenner then recounted her story of how she had been able to arrive at the scene within one minute of the dispatch call and found Wadsworth lying on the garage floor. Wadsworth was blue and was without a pulse. She described how she used the defibrillator and applied compressions. Marisa Rohlik, Cardiac Science, Inc, presented Wadsworth with a Survivor Award. Cardiac Science is the company who created the defibrillators that are used in this County. Rohlik also presented appreciation plaques to Goenner, Latt, Wallin (not present), St. Michael Fire and Rescue (not present) and to the President of Mercy Hospital. Heeter stated that Wright County is one of very few counties that equip their Deputy vehicles with defibrillators. They were funded by the Buffalo Hospital Foundation. Heeter commended the community for coming together to fund the defibrillators. Lewis informed the Board that in January, 2005, the CPR guidelines and shock guidelines changed. The defibrillators in the Deputy Patrol cars are not upgradeable to meet guidelines; therefore Heart Safe will need to try to raise funds to replace 70-75 defibrillators. Lewis thanked the Board and the County for its support.
Sawatzke presented the 6-05-07 Owner’s Committee minutes and recommendations. The following corrections were made: Page 1, first paragraph, “Heeter stated that from this date forward, the Owner’s Committee Meetings will be held weekly on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. unless there aren’t any Agenda Items.”; Page 1, Section III, 6th line, from “…paying for the removal.” to “…paying for the disposal.”; Page 1, Section III, 7th line, from “…that the contractor is stockpiling…” to “…that the contractor is now stockpiling…”; Page 1, Section III, 8th line, from “…predetermined location via…” to “…predetermined County location via…”; and Page 2, Section IV, 2nd line, from “The City is placing three new…” to “the City has placed three new…”. Discussion and action at today’s County Board Meeting is reflected in italics:
UPDATE ON FURNITURE. Hayes stated that he understands how to proceed based on the comments made in today’s Board Meeting. Torfin was to verify with KKE Architects their role in the design/scope of the office furniture and equipment. Torfin stated that the office furniture design (both permanent and non-permanent) is included within their scope; however KKE will not be inventorying the existing product or creating a parts list for what is needed out at the new Jail/LEC. Sawatzke stated that during the last Owner’s Committee Meeting, it was discussed that the County would hire Intereum for $2,000 to take an inventory of the Sheriff’s Department cubicle/office furniture that is to be re-used and design the new space. The Committee agreed that Package B (chairs, conference room furnishings, etc.) will be quoted separately. Installation will also be bid separately. Sawatzke stated that his intent is to keep the furniture contract competitive.
II. PROJECT ADDRESS. Norman stated that there appears to be two addresses for the Jail/LEC. The County had adopted 3800 Braddock Ave NE as the official address; however due to annexation, the City address is 2300 1st Ave NW. Martin stated that for all contractual purposes, the City address is being used. For the purpose of making material deliveries and directions, the Braddock Ave NE address is used. Sawatzke expressed concern as to when the City plans to take over the road. Debate ensued on how the street fits into the City grid versus the County grid system. RECOMMENDATION: Use the 3800 Braddock Ave NE address until the Certificate of Occupancy is granted.
III. REMOVAL OF TOP SOIL. Fingalson stated that his Department was alerted that an extensive amount of top soil was removed from the property over Memorial Weekend. Streich stated that 30-40,000 yards of top soil will be removed. Martin stated that per the Earthwork contract, the contractor is to export any remaining top soil, in any manner they see fit. Sawatzke expressed his confusion as to whether the County is paying for the removal of the top soil on a “per yard” basis. Martin clarified that the County is not paying for the disposal. Torfin stated that he too thought the County was being charged to dispose of the soil. Streich stated that the contractor is now stockpiling approximately 40,000 yards at a predetermined County location via a discussion with Fingalson. The contractor is only keeping 1,000 yards as they had promised to sell the topsoil to a customer of theirs. Martin explained that most excavating contractors remove topsoil at no cost to their client as they often sell the black dirt to offset the cost of the labor. Martin clarified that Julian M. Johnson Construction (J.J.) is strictly paying to store the topsoil prior to selling the 1,000 yards. Streich explained to the Committee that due to the high elevation of the stockpile and in accordance with the storm water permit, he would recommend installing 350’ of additional silt fence. Streich stated that J.J. is willing to put the fencing in for free due to A&P having a good working relationship with the contractor. Discussion continued on the potential of compensatory damages to the farmer (Dale Gapinski) who planted in two areas affected by construction. Fingalson stated that several attempts have been made by his Department to contact Gapinski. Calls have not been returned. Streich confirmed that he too has not been contacted by Gapinski. Fingalson stated that the blame for the seeding is partly on the farmer who has not conducted any form of communication with the County. Streich asked if the County would have any need for woodchips that were stockpiled on site. The woodchips are not proper mulching material; however Norman stated that he’d alert Al Buskey of its availability. Fingalson stated that he’d contact Marc Mattice today as well. Sawatzke proposed moving the bark to the Compost Facility for public use.
IV. POWER POLE LOCATIONS. Fingalson stated that he received a call from Joe Steffel, Utilities Director, City of Buffalo, in regard to power pole locations. The City has placed is placing three new power poles between Braddock Avenue and the construction trailer located on site. Torfin explained that the City is to provide notice for the purpose of allowing the County to determine if future Braddock Avenue reconstruction will affect the final placement of the power poles. The poles are to provide temporary power out on site. To move the poles again to accommodate future road reconstruction would cost approximately $500. Fingalson noted that due to past discussions, there is a good chance that Braddock Avenue will need to be widened to allow for a safer entrance into the Jail/LEC, as well as be reconstructed due to its poor current condition. Streich expressed concern for the condition of the road and stated that at a minimum, the entrance to the site will need to be widened an additional 12’ by this Fall to allow for safe Winter deliveries. Discussion continued on temporary solutions for Braddock until the County is able to include reconstruction in its budget. Streich proposed that the County place a minimal asphalt topping as a temporary fix until the County has a chance to redo the entire road after the completion of the project. Sawatzke asked if the County could afford to postpone the road reconstruction for a year. Fingalson stated yes. Streich stated most of the heavy trucking will be completed by late 2008. Heeter proposed postponing the road discussion until the 2008 budget session. Martin explained that the asphalting will need to be revisited in August in preparation of Bid Package #3. RECOMMENDATION: Revisit discussion to include asphalting Braddock Avenue in August, 2007, for Bid Package #3.
V. PROJECT SCHEDULE UPDATE. Streich provided a six week project preview. The building pad of the jail is up to grade, LEC is soon to follow. Braun Intertec is on site and providing testing results on a daily basis. The phone lines should be brought in by 6-12-07. J.J. has been digging the retention pond. Fingalson agreed to meet with Streich on 6-06-07 to discuss where to continue stockpiling the topsoil. Approximately 20,000 yards of gravel has been put in the pit so far. Heeter announced that the Owner’s Committee Meeting was canceled for 7-03-07. Norman requested that Martin submit her agenda items by the deadline of 3:00 P.M. each Thursday. Martin asked that she be emailed an agenda on a weekly basis. Sawatzke requested that all change orders be brought to the attention of the Owner’s Committee. Torfin noted that the Board approved Bid Package #2 during today’s Board Meeting. Torfin reminded the Committee that one of the subcategories was for Detention Equipment which includes the pre-cast cells. The package is going to limit the number of equipment contractors that can bid on this because contractors don’t often have the capacity to bond their installers. Martin explained that due to past project experience, the County would have a more successful experience if the detention equipment contractor was able to obtain and install the product, as well as manage the entire process. If one contractor is responsible for the entire package, then there is less finger-pointing. Martin reassured the Committee that there are five contractors who are interested in bidding on this project which will allow for a fair and competitive bidding process.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke stated that there are two project addresses and only the Braddock Ave NE address is locatable on MapQuest.com. Sawatzke asked Gary Torfin, Captain/Jail, what he thought would happen with the woodchips if nobody at the County level has a use for them. Torfin stated that the chips will probably be hauled off-site. Sawatzke proposed that the chips be brought to the County Compost site for public use. Russek proposed dropping the chips off at the City Compost Site. Heeter stated that she went and viewed the chips and felt that they could be used for landscaping purposes and is in favor of bringing them to the County Compost Site and made available to the public. Sawatzke noted that he would like to see all change order requests at future Owner’s Committee Meetings, even if they fall below the $5,000 threshold of being approved by the Committee. Sawatzke moved to approve the corrected minutes and recommendations made by the Owner’s Committee. The motion carried 5-0 on a second by Heeter. (End of Owner’s Committee Minutes and discussion.)
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, stated that the “Jake Brake” Issue along CSAH 37 has been discussed at a previous TCOTW Meeting and the 5-23-07 Ways & Means Committee Meeting. Action was taken by the Board on 6-05-07 to approve three signs along CSAH 37 reading ‘Unmuffled Engine Braking Prohibited” at a cost of $432.09 plus labor and truck fees. The order was already placed and the signs were to be manufactured on the afternoon of 6-06-07 when Jeff Young, of Monticello, called the Highway Department the morning of 6-06-07 to say that the Landfill agreed to pay the cost of the signs, but they wanted another sign design costing $581.34 (for 3 signs). Heeter stated that the more expensive sign is the sign that staff originally wanted and is thankful to the applicant for providing the funding. Young stated that he would like to meet with Fingalson within three days to discuss sign placement, receive a copy of the invoice, and obtain a site plan. Young said it was a lack of communication from the County that resulted in this late decision and wanted the location of the signs in writing. Young expressed his gratitude to the Landfill for funding the new signs. On a motion by Sawatzke, seconded by Heeter, all voted to approve the sign change regarding the “Jake Brake” Issue along CSAH 37. Sawatzke requested that Fingalson verify with Young whether the invoice will be sent directly to the Landfill or if the Landfill will reimburse the County for the sign purchase.
Fingalson stated the acquisitions of the highway ROW for CSAH 17 between the south County line and the south City limits of Delano involved 67 parcels. As of 6-07-07, approximately 72% of the parcels have been acquired with acquisition meetings on-going. It is recommended that the resolution for condemnation being presented today be approved to allow the County Attorney’s Office to begin eminent domain proceedings using the 90-day quick-take procedure. This will allow timely access to the properties during the 2007-2008 construction seasons and avoid jeopardizing Federal funding for the project. Efforts will continue in hopes of reaching a settlement through the direct purchase method. Mattson stated that through his observation, the trail along County Road 12 is used approximately 5-10%. According to Mattson, people don’t use the path because it is gravel. It was pointed out that the Luce Line is gravel. Most pedestrians tend to use the narrow asphalted shoulder along the road instead of using the unpaved trail. Russek asked Fingalson if the trail is an 8’ or 10’ trail. Fingalson clarified that the trail is 10’ and that it required acquisition of additional ROW. Eichelberg stated that the Board has already approved the trail. On a motion by Eichelberg, seconded by Sawatzke, to adopt Condemnation Resolution #07-34 for Unsigned Parcels of ROW on CSAH 17 (SP 86-617-08). Roll call vote carried 4-1 (Mattson cast the nay vote).
Tom Salkowski, Planning & Zoning Administrator, stated that the Office of Planning and Zoning has received notice from the MN Environmental Quality Board (EQB) that two petitions requesting Environmental Assessment Worksheets (EAWs) have been filed for proposed gravel pit operations. The first EAW petition is for a temporary mining and bituminous plant for the State Highway 24 project proposed by Knife River Corporation in Section 15 of Corrina Township. The second petition is for a gravel mining and crushing operation proposed by Scherber Companies in Section 4 of Buffalo Township. Neither of the requests meet the mandatory EAW threshold, which is a mining area of 40 acres or greater. The Scherber petition is for 27.5 acres and the Knife River petition is for 15 acres. There is no mandatory EAW threshold for a bituminous plant which is goverened by the P.C.A. However, when a valid petition is filed with the EQB, an EAW determination must be made by the Responsible Governmental Unit (RGU). According to State law, “The RGU shall order the preparation of an EAW if the evidence presented by the petitioners, proposers, and other persons known to the RGU demonstrates that, because of the nature or location of the proposed project, the project may have the potential for significant environmental effects. The RGU shall deny the petition if the evidence fails to demonstrate that the project may has the potential for significant environmental effects.” The criteria in deciding whether a project has the potential for significant environmental effects, is as follows: “A) type, extent, and reversibility of environmental effects; B) cumulative potential effects of related or anticipated future projects; C) the extent to which the environmental effects are subject to mitigation by ongoing public regulatory authority; and D) the extent to which environmental effects can be anticipated and controlled as a result of other available environmental studies undertaken by public agencies or the project proposers, including other EISs.” Salkowski stated that he feels the criteria is somewhat vague and is subject to interpretation. A record, including specific findings of fact, must be kept of the RGU’s decision on the need for an EAW. The EQB has determined that Wright County is the appropriate RGU to decide the need for an EAW. Salkowski presented copies of the petitions and the Planning Commission hearing notices. Salkowski also referred to maps, aerial photos and mining plans via the projection screen in the Board Room.
EAW Petition for Knife River Corp. Salkowski stated that there is a pending public hearing in front of the Planning Commission. Corinna township approved the Knife River Corporation (Dearing) project with numerous conditions. Salkowski stated that this project will be for mining and operation of a bituminous plant. The bituminous plant is scheduled to operate for 18-22 days within the year. Generally, the main cause of concern with bituminous plants is the odor and truck traffic. The Board will have to determine whether the evidence of the petition, and the nature of the project, may have the potential for significant environmental effects. The County has not required EAWs in the past for temporary projects such as this. Planning & Zoning does not have a say on the location of a bituminous plant; property owner and the contractor determine the location of a gravel pit and/or bituminous plant, however the County has to determine if it is necessary to conduct an EAW. Heeter asked why the contractor wouldn’t use an existing plant if Knife plans to operate the bituminous plant for a mere 18-22 days. Russek stated that this project will bring in trucks every thirty minutes; there will be truck traffic no matter where the plant is located, however the contractor would like to get its product as close to the project as possible to save time and money.
Mattson stated that Corinna Township had a moratorium on gravel pits so that they could further study this issue. Mattson continued to say that he hasn’t seen any type of study on the gravel pits, and the Township Board has changed their vote on this particular project. The Chairman of the Township Board is the property owner for the proposed bituminous plant. Russek stated that the moratorium to study the impact of gravel pits expired on 6-06-07. Salkowski stated that Staff has asked to see copies of the study, but have received no response. Sawatzke asked if Corinna Township is within days of administering their planning and zoning. Salkowski stated that he and Tom Zins, Assistant County Attorney, are meeting with Corinna Township on 6-14-07 to discuss land use. There has been quite a bit of correspondence between the Township and the County for the past eighteen months. The Township is not set up administratively yet to do its own planning and zoning.
Salkowski stated that the County Highway Department has been to the site to look at the access from CR 39 onto the site. The traffic from State Highway 24 will be closed. They studied other possible accesses, and found that the most sensible access would be to exit directly from the site onto CR 39. The closest residential area is to the east of the property, and the Town Hall is north. Salkowski referred to the proposed setup and the topography. The restoration plan states that the contractor will push black dirt back in order to return the property to farmland. Salkowski reiterated that the Planning Commission has a hearing on 6-14-07 and if an EAW is required, then the project will be put on hold and the Planning Commission cannot act. Eichelberg asked Salkowski how long the project would be put on hold. Salkowski stated that it varies on the nature of the EAW, but could be 60-90 days.
Eichelberg questioned whether the close proximity of the plant to the project will make for safer travel along CR 39 and whether safety was a concern of the petitioners. Salkowski stated that he is not qualified as a highway safety expert; however he would estimate that a shorter haul on a road that will have very little traffic should provide for a safer overall project.
Dave Wagner, of Annandale, stated that there is a letter on file form the Clearwater Lake Watershed District supporting an EAW.
Mona Steinhaus, 9110 Ingram Ave NW, Annandale, stated that she is the petitioner for the first EAW. Steinhaus stated that Schroeder Park is the only park in the County that collects an income. Cedar Lake is 3 miles long and the residents were taxed $360,000 to clean the lake. The residents are choosing to clean the lake in a natural way, as opposed to using pills. Steinhaus stated that she represents a large group of people who are okay with the gravel pit, however are concerned about the bituminous plant. Steinhaus stated that there is an existing bituminous plant located 4.3 miles from the project intersection. Corinna Township has given their stipulations and is giving Knife River until 11-15-07 to complete their work at the Dearing property. Steinhaus questioned the integrity of the land offer to John Dearing and the expiration of the moratorium. Steinhaus stated that the Township had voted no on 5-01-07 and 5-15-07, however voted yes on 6-05-07. Steinhaus stated that the petitioners have concerns that the Township has not been consistent. Steinhaus stated that the citizens have the right to breath clean air. She stated that she is requesting that an asphalt plant not be located at the Dearing property.
Wagner stated that he has sent a letter requesting that EAWs become a required step of action for filing a permit to establish a gravel mine/bituminous plant. Wagner stated that the CUP process began on 4-28-07 which did not allow much time for the residents to react. Wagner stated that if the County and Township require contractors to perform diligent work at the front end of a project, then the project would be a better project. An EAW will force Knife River to do diligent work. An EAW will allow the County to make informed decisions allowing plenty of time for the citizens to be informed of the effects of the project.
Ron Klinker, Environmental Manager for Knife River, referred to the “criteria” Salkowski listed at the beginning of this discussion, in deciding whether a project has the potential for significant environmental effects. Klinker stated that Knife River has addressed each of the conditions placed by the Township Board, and Knife River has storm water, dust and air quality conditions that it must comply with as part of being commissioned with the E.P.A. Klinker stated that based on the petition that has been presented, there are six items that are outside the realm of an EAW: how property values will be affected, phosphorus levels in Cedar Lake, storm water runoff and etc. Klinker stated that there are nearly 2,000 lbs. of phosphorus in Cedar Lake. 96% of the phosphorus is coming from the inlets to the south of the lake, which is the opposite side of the lake from where the project will be taking place. Klinker stated that he agrees that it is the citizen’s responsibility to protect the State’s lakes and water; however an asphalt plant and gravel mining will not add additional phosphorus to the water. Klinker stated that there will not be any run-off based on conditions of the storm water permit. When opening a gravel site, Knife River adds burms, silt fencing, rock fencing and vegetation to control storm water run-off. In a search of the County well system, the stagnant water level was anywhere from 30’ to 50’. Knife River will not be impacting the ground water and it will be mining to a depth of 20’ to 25’.
Sawatzke stated that the County has known for years that Highway 24 was going to be reconstructed. Sawatzke questioned why this request is being brought up at last minute. The application came in late for the gravel pit and therefore, the Board has now been placed in a difficult situation. Sawatzke asked Knife River when they decided to enlist the Dearing Property as the site for the bituminous plant. Klinker stated that there were three or four other contractors that expressed interest in this property. During the bidding process, the contractor has pre-conceived ideas of the best locations for material. If the contractor wins the bid, then they apply for a permit of the site.
Troy Forcier, Estimator/Project Manager Knife River, stated that they were interested in the property in March of 2007. It was determined that the Dearing property was the best site to transport materials and keep costs down for bidding. The truck traffic will be more local to the construction site, rather than bringing the asphalt from Silver Creek. Knife River has agreed to the Township’s condition to exit the site by 11-15-07. This is a temporary mining/bituminous site. Russek asked if the site would be completely reclaimed by 11-15-07. Forcier stated no. The mining and asphalt will be complete; however the reclaiming (seeding and mulching) will need to be completed at a later date. Sawatzke stated that he finds it reasonable to have the material source in close proximity to the project site to cut down on the amount of truck traffic. Sawatzke stated that in an effort to save the taxpayers money, it would make sense to approve a local site for the contractor. Sawatzke asked Knife River if they would have to raise their contract price if they cannot extract their materials from the Dearing property. Forcier stated no. The amount bid is the standing contractual price. Russek stated that the fuel savings for Knife River would be an environmentally sound decision. Sawatzke agreed by stating that with less truck traffic there will be less pollution, less accidents, less fuel being consumed which will also save the contractor money. The area is going to still carry an odor as the bituminous is going to be laid on the road. Sawatzke stated that he would like reassurance that the contractor will be out of the Dearing site by 11-15-07. Sawatzke asked if there is some sort of financial reassurance that the County could receive from Knife River. Salkowski stated that the County cannot guarantee that the contractor will abide by the condition. The County will have to rely on the contractor’s word as trust is a factor on this project. The contract with the land owner is for two years. Salkowski questioned why Knife River would want to remain on the site any longer than 11-15-07 and noted that the contractor would not want to mar its reputation with the County as they will likely be doing projects with the County in the future. There is some legal recourse as the Planning Commission could set some reclamation bonds (15 acres is a standard $15,000). Sawatzke stated that there is going to be a greater microscope on this project. Sawatzke expressed concern as to the recourse the County would have if the contractor does not follow the rules.
Sawatzke asked Knife River for a reassurance that they will exit the Dearing site by 11-15-07. Forcier stated that Knife River would not want to jeopardize their relationship with the County; Knife River will appear before the Planning Commission repeatedly for future annual asphalt permits.
Heeter stated that the Board’s decision today is to determine whether an EAW should be required. The location of this property is close to the site where the gravel and asphalt is needed; however it is also close to the State’s most valuable assets: its lakes. The County and its citizens need assurance that operations at this site will not have a detrimental effect on the environment. Heeter stated that she would be in favor of requiring EAWs as a norm to the permit process. Sawatzke asked what the distance was of this site from Clearwater and Cedar Lakes. Salkowski stated that the Dearing property is approximately 1,800’ from Clearwater Lake and 2,700’ from Cedar. Russek questioned whether an EAW needs to be performed in the case of a temporary bituminous plant.
Salkowski stated that staff has concerns on how the County’s relationship with gravel pits will be affected once townships start administering their planning and zoning. Salkowski stated that the County will begin the negotiation process with Corinna Township on 6-14-07. Corinna’s planning consultant stated that they are having their first hearing on 6-14-07 of a zoning ordinance. The consultant has informed Salkowski that he does not feel that the ordinance will be adopted that evening. Sawatzke questioned who will be considered the RGU once the townships start administering their zoning. Salkowski stated that whoever grants permits would be considered the RGU.
Sawatzke asked Salkowski if he has seen the reclamation plans for the Dearing project and whether he feels as if the property could be actively farmed. Salkowski stated that he has seen some successful reclamations on other projects. Forcier stated that currently the property has a knoll, which will be removed, and the gravel will be mined under the knoll. The top soil will be put back into place; the land will be reshaped and sloped. The site will be returned to an AG site. The farmer plans to farm the land in 2008.
Mattson questioned whether this item should be laid over for one week. He stated that he was not going to support the project and would like to lay over the item in order to force Corinna Township to make a decision. Russek clarified that Corinna has recommended not doing an EAW. Sawatzke asked Salkowski if a determination needs to be made prior to the Planning Commission Meeting on 6-14-07. Salkowski stated that he would not like the item to be laid over. A few of the conditions that the Township Board has recommended do not fit into a CUP. The Planning Commission will make some conditions. Russek assured the Board that he will report back to the Board on the Planning Commissions conditions. Sawatzke stated that he would agree with Mattson’s statement of disappointment with Corinna Township. The Township has been inconsistent in its voting. Sawatzke stated that he is not in support of requiring an EAW and believes that the Dearing property is in the best interest of the contractor and the County citizens. Due to the close proximity of the site to the construction project, the project will be completed quicker, there will be less traveling, less chance for injury and less fuel being consumed. Sawatzke stated that he would like the Planning Commission to know that this site will be temporary, and if the contractor has not closed the site by 11-16-07, he would like a court order to shut the contractors work down.
Zins stated that the Board has to remember to not be influenced by the politics with Corinna Township or bonding. The Board has to consider the “criteria” for how this proposed bituminous plant “may” or have a “potential” of creating cumulative impacts on the environment and the extent of reversibility. If the Board determines that this site could be easily reclaimed, then the Board does not need to approve the petition for an EAW. If there is evidence that the effects may be irreversible, then the Board needs to vote in favor of an EAW. Zins stated that it is his opinion that the area will be professionally restored and the location of the bituminous plant will improve the safety concerns. On a motion by Mattson, seconded by Heeter, to approve the EAW Petition for Knife River. The motion failed 3-2 (Eichelberg, Russek and Sawatzke cast the nay votes).
Sawatzke made a motion to not require an EAW based on the findings in the record and the explanation by Assistant County Attorney, Tom Zins. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Mattson asked if the Township Board will be meeting again on this issue. Russek stated no. The motion passed on a 3-2 vote (Mattson and Heeter cast the nay vote).
The meeting was recessed at 10:59 A.M. and reconvened at 11:10 A.M.
EAW Petition for Scherber Companies, LLC. Salkowski stated that the criteria in determining whether this project has the potential for significant environmental effects remain the same. Salkowski provided a brief overview of the C.U.P. requested by Scherber Companies to mine and crush gravel at 2452 50th St. NE, Buffalo. Scherber is a relatively small operator, and this mining site is not linked to a road job. There are residential areas close to the site, and in particular, there is an apple orchard and operating farm located adjacent to the site. A citizen petition has been submitted for an EAW. One of the main concerns is the apple orchard and the potential impact on the highly specialized operation. Buffalo Township has not taken a position regarding the EAW but has recommended denial of the gravel mining permit. The Planning Commission will need to make a decision on 6-28-07 unless an EAW is required by the Board. Russek asked if this permit was for a long term operation of a gravel pit. Salkowski stated that the permit is for ten years. Mattson questioned the validity of approving/denying a petition of an EAW when the Township did not approve the permit for operation of a gravel pit.
Corey Scherber, Owner/Operator of Scherber Companies, stated that the largest concern has been for the sediment run-off flowing into the nearby lake. There is a large knoll on the property that leads down to the lake. The land has steep slopes and heavy rainfalls have created deep ruts. Scherber’s reclamation plan is to flatten out the area and remove a lot of the hills. Scherber has permitted the area for 30 acres as there is gravel located on only 27.5 acres of the property. The area is planned to be mined down to a depth of 17’, as the gravel has only been found down to 17’.
Dr. Bob Milligan, resident and physician in the community, stated that the apple orchard neighboring the property has been the foremost concern of the community. Milligan stated that in order to request an EAW, there must be 25 petitioners. The community has collected 44 signatures from petitioners. The proposed site of the mine is not in an isolated area. It is in the middle of a residential neighborhood with a high density of housing. There are six homes that directly border the proposed gravel site. Milligan stated that the reasons the petitioners have requested an EAW is as follows: an apple orchard is located immediately adjacent to the site, an other apple orchard is located within 1/4 mile of the site, particulate pollution, children’s health and safety, there is a wetland on the property, there is a lake and wetland less than 1,000’ from the property, silt pollution and noise pollution.
Dick Brown, Owner/Operator of the Apple Orchard adjacent to the proposed gravel site, stated that there are other concerns that the neighborhood has and by proxy, the community is counting on the approval of the petition for an EAW. Brown stated that it has been difficult to find published research on the effects of dust on apples and the leaves. He has spoken with researchers at the U of M, the Extension office and has searched the internet. Brown stated that he has spoken with a fruit specialist in southwest Michigan who has endured years of increased dust and sand due to operation of a nearby gravel pit. The fruit specialist has stated that the dust is an abrasive, a physical mechanical damage that creates an easy way for mites to get into the fruit. Russek confirmed that the apple orchard was a main concern of the Planning Commission. Heeter asked Brown if the apple orchard was his full time occupation. Brown stated yes. Heeter asked Salkowski if the EAW would address the close proximity, or the quantity, of gravel pits in the area. Salkowski stated that he is sure that the EAW would primarily focus on this site only. Brown stated that in speaking with other orchards in the area, raspberry crops were severely impacted, or deemed worthless, due to the dust from gravel pit operation. Brown noted that any fruits or vegetables that cannot be washed will be affected by the dust. Brown stated that he would need to do some additional research to determine if he should eliminate specialty or ornamental fruit crops until this application was completed. Brown stated that the dust from the mining would only be one variable to the many variables that a farmer has to deal with in its farming. Mattson asked if Brown has spoken with the owner of the Deerlake Orchard as they are located near a dusty road. Brown stated that he would contact the owner.
Scherber stated that he has already spoke with the owner of Deerlake Orchard and the owner has stated that other than the noise pollution, he has not had any problems. Brown stated that his orchard would be located considerably closer to a gravel pit in comparison to the Deerlake Orchard.
Milligan asked if there is a sticky residue on the apples following a spraying. Brown stated that he only sprays during a calm weather day, and typically at night when the wind is at its calmest. Milligan stated that it has been noted with other orchards in the area that any dust/particulate pollution that covers the apples and trees is difficult to remove. Milligan stated that this pollution could not only decrease the crop’s yield, but could spoil much of the crop and make the apples unmarketable. Brown agreed by stating that consumers do buy with their eyes, not by taste. He retails his crops at the Minneapolis Farmers Market.
Milligan stated that the community has health concerns. A recent American Lung Association study states, “Particle pollution cases a broad range of health problems. Exposure worsens asthma and causes wheezing, coughing, and respiratory irritation. It also triggers heart attacks, cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) and premature death.” “Hundreds of community health studies have linked daily increase in particle pollution, to reduced lung function, greater use of asthma medications, and increased rates of school absenteeism, emergency room visits, hospital admission, and premature death” “In people with heart disease, very short-term exposures of one hour to elevated fine particle concentration have been linked to irregular heart beats, and heart attacks.” Milligan stated that he is the president of the Geriatrics Division at the Buffalo Hospital and treats farmers whose health has been affected by dust. Milligan stated that the concern is that children with asthma live near the site, and the close proximity is likely to worsen their asthma. The “tailings”/”black dirt” pile is less than 100’ from a family’s backyard where children play. Milligan stated that there is a major concern for the young children and the heavy equipment that will be in operation nearby. Milligan stated that there is also concern for the wildlife and deer in the area. The onsite wetland is used by migratory water fowl year-round. Milligan stated that the community is concerned with how the wetland will be protected as Scherber’s proposed mining plan shows that operation will take place within 100’ feet of the water’s edge. Another major concern of the community is for Gilchrist Lake which is an inland open freshwater wetland, and wildlife habitat area. Gilchrist is less than 1,000’ from the proposed gravel pit site and although mining operations are intended to occur outside the 1,000’ boundary, the land slopes into Gilchrist Lake. Milligan stated that the watershed slopes directly into the apple orchard and the lake. Milligan referred to pictures that were taken of Gilchrist and stated that the community is concerned that there will be silt run-off which could damage the water quality of the wetland. The petitioners would like to see a prevention plan by Scherber Companies. Milligan stated that the neighborhood requests an EAW to examine or address the following: flood drainage patterns and existing drainage, develop a transportation plan, develop a sound and visual barrier system, ensure children’s safety, a plan for dust control which would not pollute the ground water, offer a comprehensive plan to prevent damage to the neighbor’s apple crop, offer a restitution plan if the apple crop is damaged, evaluation of subsurface conditions, develop gravel extraction methodology and sequencing, develop a conceptualized operational plan, provide hours of proposed operation, a timeline for how long the crushing will occur, a plan demonstrating how Scherber will prevent damage to the wetlands, develop a reclamation plan for gravel extraction and gravel processing areas, and outline procedures for gaining approval of the proposed gravel pit under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.
Joann Milligan, 2381 LaBeaux Avenue and representative of the petitioners, stated that the community is very concerned about the environmental effects of the gravel pit operation. She stated that the request for the EAW is not just a delay tactic. She stated that the Board should approve the petition for the EAW for these additional following reasons: the Township does not support the permit for the gravel pit, the contractor’s application is for a ten year period, the gravel is not for a local project, and there is not an emergent use for the product.
Eichelberg asked Salkowski if the County can deny a permit for operation of a gravel pit once an EAW order is completed. Salkowski stated that the purpose of an EAW is to identify problems and allow the contractor the opportunity to address the issues of concern. Once the contractor has addressed how they are going to deal with the problems, then an EAW will result most often in approving the project. Sawatzke asked if the Planning Commission would have any authority to deny a permit if the Board issues an EAW. Sawatzke noted that an EAW could also prove that there are issues that cannot be fixed. Salkowski stated that all actions are put on hold if an EAW is ordered. Salkowski stated that the Board can address the dust issue as best as it can, however there will always be dust. The Planning Commission takes their lead from the County Board. Sawatzke stated that if the Board denies the need for an EAW, then the Board would be denying the legitimate concerns of the petitioners. For the Planning Commission to grant a permit would go against what the Board is attempting to do.
Zins stated that again, the Board has to believe that there is a possibility that the gravel mining at this particular site would create a significant environmental impact. There have been minor attempts to research whether dust can affect the growth of apples. Gravel pits are a conditional use in an AG zone.
Scherber stated that he has already itemized specifics on how Scherber Companies will proceed to protect erosion and run-off into the lake. Erosion control and silt fencing have been covered on the plans. Scherber stated that gravel mining is his livelihood and he is not afraid to take legal action. He bought the land to mine, and he intends to use the property to mine gravel.
Eichelberg stated that this is a hard case to deny or to order. Scherber Companies meets the qualifications of Planning and Zoning. Long term mining would be a legitimate qualification for having an EAW performed. Mattson stated that in listening to the concerns of the citizens, an EAW seems the proper step to take. Mattson stated that the EAW will allow Scherber to formally address the concerns of the petitioners. Mattson moved to approve the EAW petition for Scherber Companies based on the environmental concerns raised by community residents, seconded by Heeter. Zins stated that the concern on the impact of the dust on the Apple Orchard, the potential health impacts of the immediate neighborhood and the drainage issue into Gilchrist Lake are the three largest issues that directly affect the need for an EAW. The motion carried 5-0.
Russek stated that Senator Koch’s Office has informed the Administration Department that none of the dates selected by the Board will work for Commissioner Tom Hanson to tour possible Bonding Sites. They suggested the Board choose some dates in the last two weeks of August or in September. It was noted by the County Board that August will be difficult due to the Wright County Budget Hearings. The Board agreed upon the following dates: 9-05-07 (10:00 A.M. or later), 9-06-07 (afternoon) or 9-07-07 (All Day).
Pat Melvin, Special Projects Coordinator, recommended canceling today’s Owner’s Committee Meeting due to lack of agenda items. Heeter made a motion to cancel the 6-12-07 Owner’s Committee Meeting. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0.
Heeter stated that the Regional Radio Board has requested she identify an alternate for her position on the Board. The Board is working to obtain an 800 Mhz system for the County. Sawatzke moved to appoint Eichelberg as an alternate on the Regional Radio Board. Heeter seconded the motion. Heeter clarified that both Heeter and Eichelberg will attend the first meeting on 6-20-07 at 9:00 A.M., and Eichelberg will only fill in when Heeter is unavailable thereafter. The motion carries 5-0.
Ace Hardware Hutchinson. $172.43
City Albertville 50,000.00
Daniel Albrecht 10,255.00
American Messaging 690.71
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 434.00
Ancom Technical Center 998.00
Apec Industrial Sales/Serv. 412.16
Aramark Services 5,656.29
Kirk Asplin Oil Co. Inc. 119.85
Auto Glass Center Inc. 805.54
B & D Plumbing & Heating 285.00
Betmar Languages Inc. 160.00
George Bissonnette 13,115.00
Black Box Resale Services 377.00
BP Amoco 3,728.96
Buffalo Floral & Landscaping 160.00
Buffalo Hospital 264.23
City Buffalo 35,032.69
Ryan Busch 260.00
Steven Carter 21,550.00
CDW Government Inc. 109.68
Cedar Creek Golf Course 640.00
Center Point Energy 2,996.28
Centra Sota Lake Region 47,144.78
Chamberlain Oil Co. 1,049.05
Climate Air 2,425.18
Concept Seating Inc. 1,230.00
Cottens’ Inc. 2,411.74
Country Inn 359.72
Design Electrical Contractors 611.32
Diamond Mowers Inc. 2,039.40
Jean Dillon Court Reporting 331.65
Dorsey & Whitney LLP 466.80
Toni Duerr 105.24
E-Z Flush 705.20
Edens Group 300.00
Agnes Fabel 8,460.00
John Farniok 4,690.00
Tom Feddema 141.62
Thomas Fedor 125.00
Maria Felger Ramos LLC 144.70
Gateway Companies Inc. 1,970.25
Janet Gholson 226.01
Raymond Glunz 100.00
H & H Sport Shop Inc. 140.00
Steven Hajas 79.430.00
Hansen Adv. Specialties 636.23
Karla Heeter 168.29
Amy Hertzog 363.27
Hillyard Floor Care Supply 3,030.62
Neal Huemoeller 335.62
Integrated Fire & Security 668.85
Interstate Battery Sys. 605.59
James Johnson 16,860.00
Kaplan Professional Sch. 795.00
Brian Kelzer 16,000.00
Knife River 1,614,914.20
Knife River Corp. Nort 105.44
Michael Kraft 9,535.00
Lakedale Telephone Co. 327.55
H. Larsen 8,665.00
Law Enforcement Targets 145.10
Lawson Products Inc. 653.75
Joseph Lemmerman 3,760.00
Wayne Lind 10,635.00
Little Falls Machine 454.22
Loberg Electric 701.62
Leroy Lyons Jr. 2,500.00
M-R Sign Company Inc. 21,175.29
Menards - Buffalo 146.18
MN Elevator Inc. 8,616.96
MN Resort Association 748.00
MN State Bar Association 1,480.00
MN Supreme Court 436.00
Monticello Big Lake Comm. 55,255.61
Morrell Towing Inc. 175.79
Bernie Munsterteiger 5,367.60
Roger Nelson 14,815.00
Nextel Communications 233.71
Norix Group Inc. 898.59
Thomas O’Connell 5,135.00
Office Depot 1,909.61
Terrence Olson 13,207.00
Pearl Osgood 4,640.00
David Parpart 7,950.00
Phillips 66 Quick Shop-Del. 153.18
Michael Pierce 1,800.00
Douglas Portmann 6,215.00
Precision Prints of Wright Co. 444.11
Redwood Biotech Inc. 188.75
Adam Schaefbauer 3,765.00
Jeff Schneewind 860.00
Clifton Simon 16,000.00
Robert Singer 9,995.00
Specialty Turf & Ag 692.25
St. Cloud State University 425.00
City St. Paul 4,000.00
Stamp Fulfillment Services 468.60
Randall Stender 7,000.00
Tech Depot 1,980.32
Lori Thingvold 201.85
Frederick Topel 35,930.00
The Training Network 416.90
Uniforms Unlimited 650.93
Unlimited Electric 135.00
Mary Veaderko 15,395.00
Veolia Environmental Serv. 207.68
Christine Ver Ploeg 1,425.00
Verizon Wireless 175.98
Lindsay Wallace Jr. 13,735.00
Waste Management TC W 2,489.99
Gerald Weeks 21,200.00
W Central Tribune 129.57
David Willcox 6,940.00
Jeremy Wirkkula 338.87
Wright Soil & Water Cons. 287.51
Thomas Zwickel 13,610.00
38 Payments less than $100 1,882.11
Final total $2,319,665.09
The meeting adjourned at 12:06 P.M
Published in the Herald Journal July 9, 2007.