Wright County Board Minutes

DECEMBER 12, 2017
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Vetsch, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
Husom moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Potter. The motion carried 5-0.
Vetsch moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Daleiden. The motion carried 5-0.
Potter moved to approve the Agenda, seconded Vetsch, and the motion carried 5-0.
Vetsch moved to approve the Consent Agenda, seconded by Husom. The motion carried 5-0:
1. Authorize Participation In The 2018 MCPP - First Time Home Buyers Program
1. Set Employee Recognition Ceremony Date For 2-26-18 @ 10:30 AM
1. Authorize Signatures On Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT) Release Of Property Damage Claim (17PR0025), Wright County Public Works Wind Damage Claim, $443,013.99, Date Of Damage 3-06-17
1. Approve Memorandum Of Agreement With Teamsters Local No. 320, Courthouse, For County Contribution, 2018 Health Insurance Plan
1. Approve Renewal Of 2018 Tobacco Licenses For:
A. City Of Albertville: E-Cig E-Bacco LLC DBA E-Bacco; Dooley’s Petroleum, Inc. DBA Emma’s Express LLC
B. City Of Cokato: 4-Way Liquors LLC
C. City Of Delano: City of Delano DBA Delano Wine & Spirits
D. City Of Monticello: Dark Horse Vapors, Inc. DBA Dark Horse Vapery
E. City Of Montrose: O’Brothers, Inc. DBA O’Brothers Wine & Spirits
F. City Of Waverly: Waverly Municipal Corp. DBA Waverly Municipal Liquor
2. Acknowledge Warrants Issued Between 11-21-17 & 12-05-17
1. Position Replacement:
A. Office Technician II
1. Confirm Commissioner District 1 Parks Commission Appointment, Martyn Dibben Of Buffalo, MN. Term Effective 1-01-18 Through 12-31-20 (Three-Year Term)
1. Confirm Commissioner District 2 Parks Commission Appointment, Melanie Leckey Of Clearwater, MN. Term Effective 1-01-18 through 12-31-20 (Three-Year Term)
1. Accept The Recommendation Of The Planning Commission & Rezone The Following Properties:
A. Jared J. & Katrina M. Adickes - (Chatham Twp.) Planning Commission Recommends Approval Of The Request To Rezone Approximately 36 Acres From AG General Agriculture to A/R Agricultural-Residential
B. Carrie Booth - (Franklin Twp.) Planning Commission Unanimously Recommends Approval Of The Request To Rezone Approximately 11 Acres From AG General Agriculture To A/R Agricultural-Residential
C. Charlene F. Donnelly - (Corinna Twp.) Planning Commission Unanimously Recommends Approval Of The Request To Rezone Approximately 4.9 Acres From AG General Agriculture To B-2 General Business
1. The 2017 Wright County Radiological Emergency Response Plan Review and Verification
1. Authorize Signatures On Board Of Waters & Soil Resources Natural Resources Block Grant Agreement, FY 2018 & FY 2019, Grant Award $141,298
2. Reappoint Paul Zabinski To Water Management Task Force, Three-Year Term, 1-01-18 To 12-31-20, Lake Association Representative
3. Reappoint Lynn Kissock To Water Management Task Force, Three-Year Term, 1-01-18 To 12-31-20, Mayors Association Representative
Adopt Resolution For Wright County Ditch 31, Findings And Order Directing Proceedings To Reestablish And Correct Drainage System Records For Wright County Ditch 31 (103E.101, Subd. 4a)
Tammi Vaith, Chief Deputy Auditor/Treasurer, presented the Auditor/Treasurer Agenda items.
Matt Detjen, Ag & Drainage Coordinator, asked for approval of the Findings and Order and requested that the motion include acceptance of the bid from Huston Engineering for reestablishment of Wright County Ditch 31 drainage records. There are no records for Ditch 31 and the benefited rolls are from 1917.
Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #17-65, Findings and Order directing proceedings to reestablish and correct drainage system records for Wright County Ditch 31. The motion was seconded by Potter. Detjen said Houston Engineering’s bid includes survey work completed near Ruckles Lake. Costs will be deferred until the redetermination of benefits is completed. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Approve 2017 Budget Amendment For Personnel Additions And IT Adjustments
The proposed adjustment includes the allocation of wages and benefits due to additional staff having been added in the last quarter of the year including a Ditch Coordinator, two Deputies, a Project Portfolio Analyst, and an IT Developer. There is also a transfer request from Information Technology to move funds from Temporary Wages to Professional Services. The Department outsourced a Project Manager in lieu of hiring temporary staff during 2017.
Daleiden moved to approve the 2017 budget amendments as presented. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Approve Transfer Of Tobacco License For 2018 To ARF Enterprises, LLC DBA Riverview Liquorette (Formerly Shag-Bark, Inc. DBA Riverview Liquorette) In The City Of Otsego
On a motion by Potter, second by Daleiden, all voted to approve the license transfer as presented.
Update On Amendments To The Trailblazer Joint Powers Agreement & 2018 Trailblazer Budget
Approve WCAT JPA
Vetsch referenced the finalized Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) for Wright County Area Transportation (WCAT). The JPA includes the addition of Wright County to the JPA and has been passed by 90% of the cities in Wright County.
That percentage may increase to 100% by the end of the week. The JPA brings Wright County to a 50% cost share and a cap of $100,000 for the cities for 2018 on local share and capital expenses. This includes a diluting factor of 10% each following year for WCAT cities, ending with a final transfer of WCAT to Wright County in the next two to four years.
One representative each from Wright County and WCAT will join the Trailblazer Joint Powers Board. Vetsch shared the following changes made to the Trailblazer JPA:
• 2018 WCAT Local Share 45%, McCleod 35%, Sibley 20%
• Starting in 2018, only elected officials may serve on Trailblazer Board
• Starting in 2018, the Trailblazer Board will be made up of two members from each entity
• Starting in 2018, a quorum is all that is needed to convene a meeting. However, a member from each entity will be present to address items effecting the cost to local share in excess of $20,000
Vetsch said the second item to be addressed is the release of $595,575 to WCAT for operating capital for 2018. The funds would be returned to the County if Trailblazer dissolves. Borrell commented on the ability of RiverRider to make a profit while in operation. Vetsch explained that laws have dramatically changed on how MnDOT funds its operations since then. The new process requires payment up front followed by reimbursement, and a budget is sent and approved by the State. Any profit realized will be used for such things as capital expenses/upgrades for buildings, offsetting local shares, and bus purchases. Profits will only be realized through Smartrides; profit is not realized through 5311 funding as that is not how the program is set up.
Daleiden referenced page 1, Trailblazer JPB 5311 Service Plan, 3rd paragraph, relating to townships not participating. Kevin Kassel, WCAT, said the document was drawn up prior to Wright County joining WCAT and it will be revised. The State understands the County will be involved. That is why the budget was increased from the initial allocation. Vetsch said at the last Trailblazer Meeting, it was voted to include townships having access starting 1-01-18. Kassel said the township piece was attractive to the other counties involved, and it provides justification to the State that more funding is needed.
Vetsch made a motion to approve the agreement to join WCAT. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
WCAT Invoice, Working Capital With Trailblazer, $595,575
Vetsch requested approval of an invoice for $595,575 to be paid to WCAT for working capital. The funds will be returned to Wright County if the entity dissolves or if the County leaves the entity. Husom moved to approve the invoice, seconded by Daleiden. Borrell said he is opposed as it expands the whole system. The motion carried 4-1 with Borrell casting the nay vote.
Authorize Wright County To Sponsor WCAT’s Membership Application To MCIT
Authorize Wright County’s Risk Manager As WCAT’s Member Contact
Authorize Wright County To Remit WCAT’s 2018 Membership Contribution Not To Exceed $2,600
Lee Kelly, County Coordinator, said the three items are informational. The County is moving forward with discussions on insurance coverage for WCA as it is its own entity. MCIT has requested additional information. MCIT will be able to provide insurance coverage for WCAT as early as January, 2018. Kelly said staff will continue to work with MCIT and bring something final for adoption at an upcoming meeting. Vetsch said the cost is projected at $1,800 annually (split equally between the County and WCAT) and will depend on the level of coverage. It is anticipated these items will be brought back in January after WCAT’s January meeting.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Potter moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0. The minutes follow:
I. Recycling Center Tipping Floor Roof/Structure
Wilczek presented an overview of the site, recapping the storm that damaged the building and the demolition to remove it. He stated that Wright County has up to two years from the date of the storm (July 6, 2016) to complete the reconstruction and receive the remaining funds of approximately $60,000 from MCIT. Wilczek asked for confirmation on if to rebuild the structure or leave it as it currently is. The cost to rebuild a structure with a lower clear height on the same footprint has been estimated at approximately $200,000.
Stephens commented that they are getting by ok without the tipping floor being covered, but said that reconstruction would certainly be a good improvement and would be utilized. He indicated the desire to look at expanding programs and having the covered space would be beneficial to doing that. Daleiden agreed that he would like to see programs expanded at the site. Potter commented that the site is long term and rebuilding would be useful to future operations.
Discussion was had about the equipment in the processing portion of the building and if Wright County should pursue options to sell it or have it removed. There is a lot of space that could be better utilized and programs could be expanded if the equipment was not in place.
Recommendation: Potter & Daleiden recommended rebuilding the tipping floor structure to an interior clear height of approximately 16’ and for Stephens to look into options for selling the equipment from the processing side of the building.
(End of 11-15-17 Building Committee Minutes)
At 9:30 A.M., the Public Hearing was held on proposed changes to the Fees For Service Schedule. As no public comment was received, the Public Hearing closed at 9:33 A.M. On a motion by Vetsch, second by Husom, all voted to approve the changes as presented (changes reflected in bold):
Remove the following language and fees from the Schedule (language change):
Plat Parcel Setup, $75.00, $2.50/PID over 30
Add the following language and fees to the Schedule:
Preliminary Plat Fee, $75.00, $2.50/PID over 30
Tobacco License Late Renewal Fee, $300.00
(This is an established fee by ordinance but the language needs to be added to the Fees For Service Schedule)
Remove the following language and fees from the Schedule:
Service of Summons Fee, $30.00 + mileage
Unserved Process, $30.00
Incident/Report Copies, $0.25 per page
Drive Wright Program, $75.00 Adult & Teen
Add the following language and fees to the schedule:
Service of Summons Fee – Initial attempt*, $70.00
Each additional attempt, $25.00
Additional papers at same address (additional named person), $30.00
Return of unserved process,$70.00
*Service fee includes up to three attempts at same address, mileage included.
The Wright County Sheriff’s Office charges data subjects for copies of government data. These charges are authorized under Section 13.04, subdivision 3. Copies must be paid for prior to receiving them.
For 100 or Fewer Paper Copies, $0.25 per page, black and white, letter or legal; $0.25 for one sided and $0.50 for two-sided
Most other Types of Copies, Actual Cost
Data Subject Requests, Actual Cost

(End of changes to the Fees For Service Schedule)
Approve Minutes & Act On Recommendations From The 11-15-17 Committee Of The Whole Meeting
Kryzer presented for approval the 11-15-17 Committee Of The Whole Minutes (COTW) and recommendations which included directing staff to draft findings consistent with denial in the matter of the zoning application of Advanced Disposal Services Rolling Hills Landfill, Inc. The Public Hearing was closed on 11-15-17 to further written and oral comments.
Kryzer referenced a letter received on 12-11-17 from Peder Larson, Larkin Hoffman Attorneys, on behalf of Advanced Disposal Services Rolling Hills Landfill, Inc. requesting the application for rezoning be withdrawn. He requested the Board act on the letter after approval of the 11-15-17 COTW Minutes.
Kryzer then provided an overview of the 11-15-17 COTW Minutes. The purpose of that meeting was to hold a Public Hearing on the zoning application of Advanced Disposal Services Rolling Hills Landfill, Inc. The Hearing was held in regard to Planning & Zoning Code File No. PR2017-0000719. The applicant is seeking to rezone approximately 213 acres located in Section 31 of Township 121 and Range 25, located at 175 CR 37 NE in Monticello Township (PID 213-100-312-302 and partially on PID #213-100-314-100).
The Attorney’s Office received emails from Jack Perry, Briggs and Morgan, P.A., and Patrick Mahlberg, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., recommending adoption of the Findings. Staff and outside counsel reviewed the letter and the emails and recommend the Board grant the request to withdraw.
Husom made a motion to approve the 11-15-17 COTW Minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0. The 11-15-17 COTW Minutes follow:
Vice-Chairman, Mark Daleiden, called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the County Commissioner’s Board Room at the Wright County Government Center. All five Commissioners were present. Also, present were Sean Riley, Wright County Planning & Zoning Administrator, Greg Kryzer, Assistant County Attorney; special counsel, John Baker.
Each Commissioner identified themselves and the district they represent. Daleiden informed the audience of the rules of procedures and each speaker, unless speaking for a group, would be limited to three minutes.
Representatives for the applicant, ADVANCED DISPOSAL SERVICES ROLLING HILLS LANDFILL INC., identified themselves as follows: Mike Niewind, General Manager; Bob Pfister, MN Gov’t Affairs/Marketing Manager; and Peder Larson, with the law firm of Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren
Riley opened the hearing with a brief explanation of the request to rezone from General Agriculture to I-1 General Industry. The first Exhibit was a location map showing the property location on County Road 12 & 37. The second map was the current zoning map, noting white illustrates the General AG zone. Third map displayed was the Land Use Plan map for the site that shows it is planned for AG. County air photos and pictometry shots were viewed to show different views of the site and area proposed to be rezoned.
Pfister –thanked the Board of Commissioners followed by highlighting the proposal. Noting the application and supporting documents that were submitted as part of the application are extensive. In summary, the request is to rezone 213 acres to I-1 of which 72 acres are to be used for landfill expansion. This would allow the Company to continue business in Wright County for the good of their customers, employees and Wright County. If rezoning is approved they would come back for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). The map of the area outlined in red is area they are proposing to rezone, except a corner cut out so not to impact the wetlands. After meeting with the County and with Staff input, they found this outline of the 213 acres is the best way to rezone the area and includes the scale house and equipment needed for future operations. He pointed out the exception on the north end is the Wright County Compost Facility. Explained the differences from the previous application. They went through the concerns raised with the previous application for the new submission. This application does not seek permission for municipal solid waste (MSW), but just materials they are currently accepting C & D and industrial. They are rezoning less, down from 323 acres to 213 acres (34% reduction) with this request and this petition is just rezoning. Pfister addressed the I-1 zoning and Section 155.055 is the appropriate zone for sanitary landfills. He addressed the Ordinance criteria for the proposal and why they think it is consistent with an I-1 zone as follows: 1) As it relates to existing development: The existing landfill is an I-1 use; next to it is the County Compost Recycling Facility, an I-1 use; and this expansion is adjacent and consistent with the development in the area; 2) Encourage compatible development to surrounding districts: On the closed landfill they are baling hay and 3500 bales were taken off since 2015. This shows it is compatible to surrounding area; 3) The road capacity would not be impaired: Wright County Highway Department stated the increase traffic is not a concern. This shows they meet all three intents for the I-1 zone. He addressed Northeast Quadrant (NEQ) goals that are most relevant to their project. 1) The most efficient economical use of public funds: This expansion will provide lower disposal costs for both private and public projects paid for with public funds. 2) Protect the environment and require development to take place in a manner that makes wise use of resources without degradation: The MN Pollution Control Agency (PCA) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) have confirmed there is no significant impact on natural resources; and 3) Strengthen Wright County economy by supporting local industry attracting quality jobs, enhancing tax base and bringing new capital to the region: They will be provide six full-time jobs, $300,000 of payroll in Wright County. Also, two million dollars of financial assurance fees into Monticello Twp. and County. They meet the relevant requirements of the NEQ. Daleiden questioned the time frame of the assurances. Niewind explained that is a Statute based on volume he estimated over 5-7 years.
Pfister - when completed the potential end use would be done with input from the community and be consistent with the Plan. Potential for a host fee agreement would provide funds to the community, are not encumbered and could be used for anything. Purchase of the Compost Facility is an option, a community disposal day, reporting to the County; offer regular meetings with the County and Township as well as the public to keep the public informed. Expand their involvement in the Adopt the Highway program. They have listened to the community and their concerns by eliminating the MSW from the proposal, significantly reduced the footprint to be rezoned by 34%; tried to address the misconceptions. Held an open house with over 200 people in attendance and have put out additional information. Have offered Property Value Protection plans to residents within one mile of the landfill. Also, they are continuing to work with the PCA on the mitigation for the closed portion of the landfill. Respectful of the Commissioner’s time, but can address any questions related to the closed portion. The material has previously been submitted in their documents and packets. Referring to the closed landfill, they inherited, although is not relevant to the expansion they are prepared to address it.
Mike Drysdale – with the Dorsey Whitney Law Firm of Minneapolis– legal representative for the applicant, responded to the Briggs & Morgan law firm letter just submitted today. The Commissioners should understand in reviewing that submission, Briggs & Morgan law firm has advised this County in the past and the law firm had advised the County on the old Waste Handling District that was later found unconstitutional in Federal Court and were wrong on that. This record was submitted with a formal, informative EIS, when it was being prepared, Perry from the firm Briggs & Morgan had told the MN PCA it was illegal for them to prepare and complete an EIS until rezoned, which was wrong; and if the PCA would have followed this advice, the County would not have the benefit of that information beforehand. Briggs & Morgan & Perry represent the competing waste management companies of Veit and Waste Management and is relevant to what he would address. The substance of the message is one version of the reason they cannot make a decision to approve. They say the Board is bound by the 2007 NEQ Land Use Plan; bound by findings and conclusions of the EIS and the Staff report prepared two years ago; and is a way of saying they serve no function other than to say no to this application. Drysdale stated what they are pointing out is they think they have the discretion and if it is in the best of interest of Wright County. The final thing he would say about their submission to date, they have not said it would be unsafe and the reason is Perry knows representing Veit & Waste Management that a modern state of the art landfill is safe. Offered to answer any questions on that or the letter Perry submitted yesterday.
Borrell –also a member of the Planning Commission, stated the unlined portion of the landfill is the problem. He asked if there is a way to mitigate that portion, although he knows that is not being considered as part of the rezoning, but the concerns are always brought up.
Tim Curry – Mid-west Region Operations Manager – stated he has been intimately involved with the evaluation and mitigation of the old landfill facility. The measures that have taken place already in the late 1990’s and early 2000 when a cap was put over the facility and gas collection installed; and since that occurred the contaminations at the edges of the old land fill have decreased and continue to. The tests show they are below levels EPA sets for drinking water standards at the edge of the old landfill. Through their submittals have been working extensively with the MN PCA to define the historical boundary and have installed ground water monitoring wells, probes and evaluate both horizontally and vertically of what is contaminated. There is one last phase they are waiting on evaluation by the MN PCA. Other than the contamination assumed under the immediate adjacent property once it gets back to Advance Disposal land is not prevalent beyond that point. They will continue that evaluation with the MN PCA and determine what actions need to be taken. That can range from the relocation of the entire waste, but that is unlikely because it would have to be taken to another MSW facility. Other options would be discussed with MN PCA and the best solution would be used along with coordination of long-term monitoring to make sure existing contaminates would not leave the site, other than the portion assumed to be under the Bryant property. Long term wells to monitor it would be used. Curry- clarified it is only the unlined portion and the portion and that potion lined is not contributing and the new expansion would also be lined. Potter how many acres in the unlined. Niewind and Curry estimated 17-20 acres. Potter asked about the location of the old facility. Curry – using the map pointed to the area that is flat.
Peder Larson – addressed the question on how long the assurances are for and it is much longer than the 5-7 years. Daleiden stated what he was asking is how long the maximum of two million would be collected, is it collected up front. Niewind further explained that amount is required by MN PCA Statute, collected by the Township and County and is volume based.
Daleiden opened the meeting for public comment:
Rob Frimerman – noted he spoke at the PC meeting so would simply ask: would they rezone from AG, land that is surrounded by AG to I-1 because they are asking? This is not just about Advanced Disposal, it has nothing to do with how good a company they are. Not about NIMBY, or need. A landfill needs to be in the right spot.
They all agree they want jobs, but in the right location. The question is, just because someone asks would they rezone to I-1 when it is planned for AG. He used a personal analogy to show that the Board has a responsibility to make a decision to protect the community.
Dave Carothers – Buffalo resident –five years ago was asked to come out and install wood duck and hen houses at the landfill. They use this as an educational project for kids on wildlife. He feels the Company cares about the wildlife and environment and did not think the ducks and birds would be there if the landfill was so harmful.
Randy Olson – local home improvement business in Buffalo – have used the landfill as long as he has been in business. In the many landfills he has visited, he feels this is the cleanest he has seen. A local landfill is needed to keep costs down for his customers. He feels 80% of his business is in the County and employees twelve County residents. He supports the expansion of the landfill.
Jack Perry – with Briggs & Morgan law firm and the Frederikson Byron Law firms - speaking for multiple people but he is not present to represent either the Veit or Waste Management companies. He stated the residents he is representing are all neighbors. Drysdale’s comments about a letter he sent the day before was attacked as somehow a letter sent on behalf of competitors. This is ironic because he was hired by seven different landfill expansions and was hired by Mr. Mahlberg, who is an Attorney with Frederickson Byron law firm, because of his experience with landfills and because they knew he would not be biased. He has no personal objections to landfills and he was the last person to come before the Board to say whether landfills are good or bad. He was hired because of his success of judicially forcing the approvals of landfill expansions. He would not appear unless he believed the following: The opinion is not whether they like the landfill or not, but do they have the legal authority to approve the rezoning based on the application they made. What brings those two law firms to arrive at this strong confidence that they do not have that the authority is high. Three reasons: One, Mr. Shardlow an expert, who has been doing land use planning for 40 years and knows what you can and cannot do with zoning applications. He reached out to Shardlow because he is the go to person in the State on Land Use issues. Shardlow’s opinion is as firm as his that they do not have authority to rezone. Looking at the 2015 Staff Report developed by Kryzer and Baker, they laid out the reasons, any discretion they might have, the criteria and an analyzation of that criteria. Staff provided that information in a Staff Report and state they did not meet the criteria. Based on the County Board’s Staff Report both in 2015 and 2017 is they have to meet one of two criteria. The two criteria were read: 1) To show there are changes to the goals or policies of the LUP; 2) Changes to the conditions in the County. Most counties in the State don’t restrict the authority to make legislative decisions like this. But until they change the criteria, that is what they have to comply with. If they want this approved they would have to show they meet one of these. Staff have not identified any change in the Plan; and the only way it can be approved is the second condition, if there are any changes in the County. The Dorsey firm submitted two changes and he would argue that neither would support this kind of change. The first change they refer to is without the rezoning and CUP there would be inadequate disposal capacity. However, the Section 315(1) & 316 (1) conclude if this expansion does not happen there is still capacity in the system. That report further said the facility would close in 2015 and according to the State it should have been closed or there is not much going into the facility, but there has been no outcry on need. The last change identified by the applicant that they try to justify is that post 2007 there was a sea change in landfills and are made more compatible with neighboring uses. He would cite that in 2007 MN PCA identified all kinds of ways they can be compatible to other uses, on page 22 of his letter he points out at the time the Plan was last amended they knew this, but no change was made. The normal course would be to come in and ask for a change to the policy plan.
John Shardlow – Stanteck Consulting Services – he would not repeat what is in his letter. He has had 40 years of experience as land use planner, assisted over 100 cities and counties in developing their comprehensive plans. He worked with St. Michael when developing their plan and worked with Wright County during that time when developing the County Plan. The cities along I-94 are the fastest developing cities and the County wanted to make sure the urban development happened in the cities and set up annexation areas. The County set the bar high for protection of agricultural land. In the Comp Plan AG is not land waiting to be developed, but protected.
The Plan set that as criteria as the basis of all decisions. This application is clearly inconsistent with the County’s Comprehensive Plan.
Greg Vetsch – self-employed contractor out of St. Michael -90% of his business is in Wright County has used the landfill over 20 years. The nearby Lindenfelser landfill did not have a liner, but was closed. He noted other operations that cause smell or noise near where he lives and he puts up with it. A landfill is important for the County and hopes they approve a “demolition only” landfill.
Kevin Yonak – gave history how the original landfill was started by his dad some 50 years ago. He and his brother ran the landfill later until it was too much for a family owned operation. Many of the neighbors and City of Monticello used this landfill. He was conscientious about what he would take in the facility. Later he went into waste hauling for 20 years. People will dispose of items improperly if it is too far away or expensive. He feels competition is good, the applicant does an excellent job. They have lived on 60 acres on the east boundary and he has no problem with this Company. The County already does amend the NEQ plan by allowing solar fields in AG land and would like an explanation on how that can happen.
Jay Calva – employed and representing Beaudry Propane –wanted to relay the good relationship they have with the company. As a customer of each other, he can speak to the good character of this company by how they treat them and their employees. They are good for the community, there are people in the room that rely on this business. He supports the request.
Jeff Young – a member of a 5th generation family was described of the farm and stock they have raised since 1868. He feels the preservation of farmland and having a good water source is important. Rezoning request goes against the Land Use Plan. Studies have determined that the aquifer runs from the dump southeast to the City of Buffalo and many private wells. He spoke of the amount of water used per year. This puts in an industrial facility in the middle of Ag land. Monticello, Buffalo and Maple Townships have sent recommendations against the rezoning. He requests the Board stand behind the Townships and residents and turn down the rezoning.
Terri Young – Jeff’s daughter – came home from college to speak on this important issue – the meeting is about her future. She is the future generation that would suffer the impact of the landfill expansion. What is decided on this will impact the future generations to come and asked the Commission do what is best for the community. She asked they deny the request because of the impact it will have to the environment, wildlife habitat, loss of agricultural land and potential for tremendous liability.
Michael Goodale – 1881 44th Street – resident and life-long resident of the County. As a small hauling company he appreciates the current facility that is only five miles to haul to; whereas, a trip to the Veit landfill is 13.3 miles for a total 26.5 trip to dispose of material. He is a small company, but it would add up for a company with 15-20 trucks. Need to consider the work force and fact many businesses in the County produce waste. There is much that is recycled and spoke of his farm cleanup jobs where he estimated about half is recycled. He felt the County needs this well run facility for the contractors who need the convenience, home owners that bring material here who often stop at the Compost Facility at the same time to drop off things. Having to travel to Becker is not convenient.
Linda Stey read a letter prepared and earlier submitted to the Commissioners and to the Planning Commission (see letter on file). In summary, she relayed their disappointment to find out after purchasing a retirement home that the landfill was expanding and not closing as they were told. Otherwise, they would not have purchased this property and are concerned for the wildlife, property values and passing the property to their children. In 2010, her husband, Gary wrote complaints and objections to the PCA about the expansion and they heard that the landfill would be closed in a few years. A 2014 newspaper article from when there was a grass roots effort to stop the expansion and they were successful. The Company offered a purchase but they would have to sign a Property Protection agreement, they could lease it back, but they would have to sign a non-disclosure agreement. They have not been offered a Property Value Protection Plan. She feels this is the Company’s attempt to acquire as much land as possible and it is an admission they know the landfill affects property values. If rezoning is approved, they expect the Company will be back in the future to ask for MSW and it will be difficult to deny once rezoned. She respectfully urged the Board to deny the request as they did in 2015; as recommended by three Town Boards and the residents.
Daleiden called for a 10 minute recess at 8:23.
Christine Youngs – has lived on Braddock Avenue for 25 years, but the entire family lives within a mile or so and is speaking for several neighbors - presented each Commissioner with a packet – the rezoning should be easy to say no to, it is the same decision as in 2014. The Land Use Plan has not changed and the community has voiced the same objections. Wright County does not need one, PCA report states there is capacity for another 33 years. New information is the Monticello Township is opposed. In 2014, the request included MSW, now reduced acreage to 213, but that is just to get a foot in the door. Slides were displayed, time line, 2007 was when the LUP was adopted and key points emphasized. The criteria has not changed. When they asked for I-1 in 2014, on a 5-0 vote it was denied and they pulled the request for re-evaluation. They feel what will follow is additional land and expansion to include MSW. Their business plan notes they are going to continue maximizing the land they have, however, this is a bad location with the lakes and water nearby. Emphasized the criteria. There is no change in the community and should not be approved. At the October 26, meeting notes the Planning Commission has been guided by the Land Use Plan to remain AG and protect agricultural activities. If people want that changed they can look at that in the future. The use cannot be injurious or substantially impair property owners. Those guidelines were not in affect when the Yonak family started it in the 1960’s. Daleiden interrupted that the CUP is not the topic here. Young asked the Commission not to approve rezoning.
Mark Rise - 7745 Aetna Avenue – Monticello Township – continued with slides. The focus is the LUP has three major goals to protect agricultural, the natural environment and enhance the economic environment. He worked 30 years as a bio-medical engineer developing new therapies and would consider it unconscionable to wish people to have epilepsy or Parkinson diseases to sell more product. He thinks it is inappropriate to subject neighbors to abuse to enhance economic goals in the County. The decision should be for the public interest and not a small group and to preserve open spaces. The NEQ Plan was developed by a large group of people and should not be disregarded. Individuals have made major investments based on the LUP and that should be respected. It should not be to the detriment of other people and an example is the Bryant’s property. If allowed, he noted the mountains of garbage that would sandwich their property. Spot zoning is against the LUP. Advanced claims it does not have a detrimental value, however, there are plenty of studies that show that it is detrimental. The EIS states there are impacts and especially the high-value homes that are in the neighborhood to the south. Property Value Protection Plan is really Advanced acquiring more land. An example of an industrial zone that might be done is across the river is Sherburne County. Using a google map at the scale to show an area out 5,000 & 10,000 ft. was used to show homes. Within two miles, except a few across the river in Wright County, there are no homes and there are some commercial operations. Whereas, by contrast looking at the same distances here there are 26 homes in a mile; over 100 homes in a two mile radius, pointed out the developments. Clearly, this is not an appropriate site for the zone and a landfill, even though it would create a few jobs. Albertville construction waste would be closer to go to VONCO than here. To remain safe it has to maintain the cover, stay dry and this goes on forever. Mother Nature will win that fight.
Amber Youngs – noted there will be a time line where there will be an investment; after 30 years the County will take responsibility forever and future generations will have to expend energy and funds to deal with it. The slide shows where she grew up and other family members and the connection the generations feel for this area. She would like to buy a home in this area to be near her family. Asked what the precedence of this rezoning would have on future requests.
Quinten Youngs – lives and enjoys this beautiful, area, but friends who visit ask about the big hill. This does affect them. They want to protect their lake and environment. They are concerned for the future of the planet and protection of it.
Tim Tuffs – addressed “NIMBY”, brought up at the previous Planning Commission meeting; that the County was sending our refuse out of the County. According to Advanced reports, only 20% waste is from Wright County; but over the last 15 years 80% has been coming from outside of the County and feels this shows Wright County has been doing their part. This makes no sense financially for the County, although there are some taxes and fees, it is shortsighted because someday future generations will pay for this, no one knows the real cost. Referred to the Freeway Landfill in Burnsville, 200 letters were sent to businesses, cities, school districts at the cost of 64 million dollars for the cleanup of that landfill. If rezoning is denied it would impact three jobs, compared to hundreds of families that will be affected. He does not see this as a job issue. The MN PCA is on record saying additional landfill area is not needed and very little has been going into the landfill and there is not any outcry. There is another 33 years of capacity in the State. Requesting denial of the rezoning to I-1 because it does not belong in an AG zone.
Thomas Otto – resident at 4474 CR 37 – no one wants this, but what is the option to get rid of garbage. We are sending our problem somewhere else. He noted continued changes to technology, society throws away tv’s and appliances that are perfectly good. The recycling center does not seem to get much use and Advanced wants to take it over. Everyone produces garbage and has to go somewhere and he prefers to see a large feedlot here, but no one has to live in this area. He noted a road project that impacted owners by Howard Lake. Recycling Facility is industrial and the landfill turns the land back to wildlife and agricultural. If the nuclear plant blows they are all gone. No one is coming up with alternatives for the garbage, we need to take responsibility for our own.
Jack Russek – a 20 year County Board Commissioner, 19 years served on the Planning Commission. The question is not a landfill, but are they going to vary from a Plan and a long County policy of no spot zoning.
Howard Lester – address the safety of landfills –he has been in business for 14 years with a company that mediates pollution and provides the technology. He spoke of the measures and new technology that keeps these large landfills safe. He has personal experience working with the applicant who is always working to get the best protection he can to modernize and make it better. He is a Buffalo resident and has no reservations or he would be speaking against this.
Dave Bryant – lives on CR 12, half mile south of the landfill – have been dealing with the landfill and garbage for 40 years. Reminded the Commissioners that this is a zoning issue and the NEQ Plan does not designate Industrial and this would be spot zoning. Statements about added mileage if they have to go to another landfill is irrelevant. The Company says they have 33 companies coming in and how much gas and mileage is that. The estimate on County generated garbage going into the new landfill is as low as 6% and they should feel no obligation. Asked the land use plan be upheld.
Lily Niewind – Mike is her dad who is the General Manager of the landfill and a constituent of Husom’s – she could speak to the hard work her dad does to keep the County clean. There will always be a need for landfills; he follows the rules and regulations and asked they consider the job her dad does. Request they vote yes.
Matt Marschel – driver for Advanced Disposal and for three years he has hauled MSW out of the County. The decision is rezoning, but all the MSW leaves the County and they have no problem hauling it out. The County is one of the fastest growing and the construction costs are passed on to the customer. Reports are from 2004 and the growth and changes in 2017 are different, noting the development going on the east side of the County. The County has a plan, but they change all the time. No one wants a landfill, but it has to go somewhere. Has worked in this industry for 12 years, Advanced is very environmentally conscious and are not going to put themselves in a situation that would cost them money. There are assurances for the new landfill, although they are on the hook for the old one. This Company will be here until it is done.
Deborah Scherber – Afton Ave. – area slide shows the lakes, agricultural land and homes, however, no industrial areas. The attorneys have addressed whether they can change the LUP, however, the effort put forth when there was a similar proposal. She reminded the Board of two developments that have been rezoned to Rural Residential which shows the trend of development for the area. A couple rebuttals put in print by the applicant since October 26 are: They refute the fact Townships wrote their objections before the new proposal. She pointed out Monticello Twp. has done after the fact and Buffalo and Maple Lake have not reversed their position. The applicant states the use would not be appropriate in an urban area, but she would ask if it is appropriate in an agricultural-residential area. The Company offered a property value protection plan. She lives within one mile of the existing landfill she has not been approached with an offer. New purchasers of one of the new lots had no idea this expansion was proposed. It is a betrayal of public trust to rezone I-1 now, especially after recent decisions to rezone land to residential. Please deny the request to rezone.
Angela Marquette – Baker Avenue – speaking for her siblings in the audience – they are in support of rezoning. Noted the landfill exists, there is a need to dispose of debris from construction and storms and the Company has treated this County with respect. Advanced has done everything possible to protect the groundwater. Her dad a farmer, is a good steward of the land and water. She grew up five miles away from an unlined dump and has not suffered negative issues for 30 years. If they take a “state of the art” landfill away, they will have dumps. Once closed they will not have one and they will have regrets. Her Dad attends continuing education classes on the landfill operations and protections and has been a responsible operator for 20 years. Should accept the responsibility for our own demo waste and not push our demo somewhere else. Please vote yes.
Tom Salkowski –asked for additional time because he has a unique perspective (prepared statement submitted) has a bachelors in Natural Resource Development MI State; Masters in Regional Planning at Cornell University, NY and the former Wright County Planning & Zoning Administrator for 30 years. Although not born in Wright County, considers it home to himself and family. He feels Wright County is one of the best counties in the State with the excellent farmland that is still farmed, good health care, best roads and parks department in the State. The taxes have been consistently the lowest per capita in the State. He does not agree with the statement that the County needs the economic boost from a landfill, feels it is an insult. There is reams of technology data to review and would not try to argue the safety. The only reason the dump is there, was at one time it was thought filling old gravel pits was a good idea. If they were to search a location for a new dump, the gravel soils feeding a groundwater table feeding the Mississippi River, they would not look here. The County is told the MN PCA would regulate it and not to worry, he warned do not believe it. Although there are many fine hard-working employees at the MN PCA, the agency has been underfunded and understaffed for many years. He knows, because he would get the calls. He was asked by the PCA to take over the monitoring of the dump. This was at a time when the operator called the County Board thieves in full page ads paid for by the operator at the time; and then they were abused in Federal Court. He had responded, if the PCA was going to issue a permit, they were going to have to monitor it. Last he heard they had hired someone from Sherburne County to check on it once in a while. The PCA budget and agency has been weakened in recent years. Keep in mind if rezoned it could be another kind of dump; also if rezoned the owner is completely in their rights to come in and cut up the land into industrial lots and all kinds of uses might be allowed, even any “adult uses”. Rezoning opens up a whole host of other uses. The most important issues he pointed out, is if a new dump and rezoning are approved, it will be virtually impossible to deny anything. He takes pride in the land stewardship in the County and puts a high value on it. City, Township leaders have shown their leadership. He was hired by a County Board who were concerned about unregulated development that was tearing up agricultural land and increased cost to service those people. He came from Dakota County who worked hard to maintain the Townships and agricultural areas and gave benefits to farmers who signed up to protect the Ag land. He explained how this kept the airport from moving out to Dakota County. Because of the earlier efforts by farmers and earlier local officials and based on the encouragement of the Met Council to protect hundreds of acres of ag land through tax credits. This is important to know, because they have the same situation now. Wright County has worked hard to preserve the rural areas, prevent development sprawl, keeping service costs down and promote healthy growth in the cities. This effort included residents, Township and City officials and Staff in developing the Wright County Land Use Plan. He was proud to present a plan that was approved by every city and township in Wright County. He asked they recall what was going on in the County before the depression. Pressures to develop were extreme. Otsego became a city, Frankfort ceased to exist and absorbed into St. Michael, Rockford Township was considering changing from Ag zoning and break up everything into five acre lots; City of Monticello was trying to annex most of Monticello Township; other cities were considering major annexations.
Townships were considering industrial areas with little infra-structure, just outside of the cities so they could not be annexed. Cities wanted protection of their large investments in city sewer and infra-structure. The Land Use Plan was as much a truce between the cities and townships as they were a Plan. Policies for the Cities and the Townships on annexation were developed and along with that, they got assurances. Some exceptions were made for historical areas designated for industry, but the Cities got assurances that there would not be commercial/industrial area out in the Townships. He stated that is why the proposal is so much more than a dump. If hundreds of acres are rezoned industrial in the far reaching end of this township, it is a disturbing message they send. It is rare a township would speak out about something in an adjacent township. He cannot imagine with this Township recommendation along with the neighboring Townships, the County would not respect that and go ahead rezone it. This would send a message to the Cities and in the future how can they expect them to respect these annexation agreements. If the County can ignore their own Plan and rezone industrial for a dump, how can they be trusted to approve something else willy-nilly around the County. If approved, it will send a message they are willing to throw the adopted written policies out the window for the promise for some tax revenue and a few jobs. That is a bad example to set. He urged the County Board to direct Staff to develop Findings for denial.
Dominck DesMarais – this is a “state of the art” landfill and not a dump. He used an analogy to show there are no guarantees in life. Trust is important and he feels Advanced Disposal has highly qualified staff and use best technologies. He did not think it makes sense to not utilize this location and go somewhere else. The employees at this Company strive for and do their best to inform the public and would provide income to the County to help costs Dead zones in the oceans were noted that collect wastes and is a dump in the ocean and nothing can grow there or survive. They need a cost effective way to dispose of their waste and don’t want their lakes and streams to become dead zones. He feels they should trust them to handle it in a responsible way. He feels although it needs to be rezoned, it is still Ag land because they will cut hay off it and cattle can be pastured there.
Gary Stai – noted he retired from the railroad to live in a rural retirement home as his wife, Linda earlier explained. Had talked with previous GM, Bascall and was told it would be completed within 5 years. Later in 2013 the MN PCA sent a letter from Detriot Lakes and the majority of the landfill was expected to have final cover in a few years. They would not have purchased their property if they would have known this expansion request would keep coming up. The concerns are about water, noise, traffic pollution and how this operation affects himself and family. Advanced Disposal distributed information on property values and proposed Property Value Protection Plan, this makes him suspicious, and does not guarantee against loss. If they continue to expand it would come within a couple hundred yards of their house. Three years ago it was a non-disclosure agreement offered; but they do not want to sell. He asked the County Board to deny the rezoning
Karla Heeter – former County Commissioner – ran for office in 2001 when the County was the third fastest growing County in the nation. She ran because she wanted to protect and preserve the rural and agricultural areas. There were a lot of annexation issues and wanted to preserve Ag land. She is very proud to be a part of the NEQ Land Use Plan. This is one of the most important decisions the County Board might make. It is not about the dump but the Land Use Plan and she asked they respect the Land Use Plan and people of Wright County and deny the rezoning.
At 10:00 a ten minute break was taken.
Jean Bryant –in her letter she made reference to a January 28, 1999 PC meeting where Virginia Meiling, guest speaker representing Wright County stated the underlying soils were something like Swiss cheese and would be an unstable barrier. Looking at the tape of that meeting where McGillivary, previous manager, referred to this 160 acres they had purchased for a buffer. Told the Board they would be selling the buildings off, but they would keep the rest of the land for a buffer because the rest of the land is clearly not suitable for landfilling and that is where they are now proposing this landfill.
Dan Fedoer works with a mediation company, they furnish equipment for removal of leachate which is then taken to treatment plants. They also do water mediation and a new phosphorous removal system developed from what they have learned from landfills will be available this coming spring. Based on his five-state district, he can report the rules in Minnesota are the most stringent in the United States along with the additional requirements this Company has. He doubts the applicant is looking for MSW, because they have cut back on what is going into the landfills to bring that material into the burner facilities. Because this will be a “state of art” facility they should take advantage of it and take responsibility for garbage generated in Wright County.
Josh Ellis – has a small business in waste and is considering moving his business and family to Wright County. If this is not approved, it will be off his short list and this means there is real loss in revenue and growth. He relayed the careful review of materials brought in, they went through the material in a dumpster he had and pulled out two spray foam cans. Feel many in the room are not using logic, complaining about buying a house in 2006 and talking about a depressed market. He would say they already bought it in a depressed market because it was already there. Whether it is a small landfill or allowed to expand, it is still a landfill.
Janet Thompson – Southside Township resident – has listened to the testimony but are supposed to focus on the rezoning. The T-Shirts that state they should support business, create jobs and provide tax relief, although true they must address the rezoning before them. She was involved during all the meetings when studying the land use plan and they appreciated the fact this was a County that was Ag and supports preserving the ag land. Appreciated they had opportunity to have input to what would happen to the community. The Plan was adopted with the idea that they were living in a community where the people were deciding what would go on. Three Townships oppose, they were not referring to the applicant’s qualifications, addressing jobs or taxes, but looking at the Plan and are stating this is not what they want in their community. The County Board needs to consider the amount of time put into these Plans by the Town Boards, staff and residents who had a voice. She does not think a rezoning to an Industrial use meets any criteria, not in the Plan and is far from any city. Do not shy away from the responsibility to vote no.
Pat Mahlberg at 118 CR 37 NE – his family lives directly across from the entrance to the landfill. On a recent Advanced Disposal website there was a Property Value Protection Plan and he checked it out. Although he had not received one, reached out to Niewind to see if it would make sense for his family. To suggest it is some altruistic offer is not entirely accurate. Ten year agreement and they will pay an assessed value when it is listed for sale and these are not great terms. To gain benefit of a plan as an added layer of protection, an owner has to agree directly or indirectly not oppose permits. He did not think paying for silence should be endorsed. He wants the opportunity to speak out at meetings. At the PC meeting there was another law firm when the County had to fight twenty years ago in Court. He felt his comments made sense at that meeting, however, three Planning Commission members in favor and three were not. So because of that meeting felt they needed some help and hired Perry to represent them. However, it was suggested he may have some other motive and did not think that was fair. Attorneys are expensive and do not have litigation funds so they hired Perry, experienced on this issue and asked for an honest assessment on the issue. They were advised that this request does not fit the Plan and the criteria are not met. Based on this, he requested denial of the rezoning across the road.
Denise Hawkinson – life-long resident of Wright County with two sons living in Silver Creek Township and a full-time employee for four years at Rolling Hills. They provide responsive customer services and their customers follow the rules. These customers are our neighbors and yours. The money they earn is spent in the area community. Requests the Commissioners consider her and other employees and small businesses that rely on Rolling Hills for income and approve the rezoning.
Dale & Linda Gapinski – residents at 5068 County Rd. 37 – Dale stated they and their extended family are life-long residents of the County. They are concerned because this is their home. He has been a 20-year employee for Advanced Disposal and also worked at the County Compost Facility. Having the two uses side-by-side is convenient for people to drop off both types of materials. He has worked hard to make sure they do their job
following all rules and regulations and keep the environment clean. The Company hires and employ companies and residents that are in the County. It is the type of Company they should want to keep in the County. A lot has changed since the Land Use Plan was adopted, changing the Plan is done all the time and making decisions should be based on today and not ten years ago. Asking for approval and support for those jobs and companies it supports. Linda – also asked they approve and consider Angela, talking about her Dad (Niewind), who works there. The justification for making that change, and she hopes the Commissioners can figure it out and they all have a voice and don’t take it away from them. Thanks for listening to the families.
Steven DesMarais – lives at 648 CR 37 - save agriculture and vote no, agriculture will not destroy the County like this use.
Peder Larson – responded to the public comments and does not agree with Perry. One point that is important is the difference between a judicial and a legislative decision. This Board is acting in the capacity of legislative power. Referring to the Courts as an example with separation of powers. This is a policy making board for the County and it is a legislative decision. They have provided information that they have discretion to make this decision based on the LUP. To suggest a group in 2007 can control what they can do today on behalf of the County is wrong. He does not think Perry properly described the Board’s role. Regarding financial assurances, he has been involved in the Freeway Landfill as Assistant Commissioner at the PCA in the early 1990’s; it was similar to the old unlined landfill out here but they stopped taking waste in the 1980’s. There was some mis-information about that case, but explained those companies are no longer responsible and was a February statement and did not represent what happened in May. Two big problems on those old landfills was there were no assurances and were not lined. Comments have been made that the County would be responsible someday for the landfill, but that is a misconception. It may have been true years ago when there were a lot of County unlined landfills. This is a private landfill that will be responsible for closure and post closure. He quoted the Statute that states the closure, post closure financial assurances have to exist and corrective actions have to be the responsibility of the owner as long as the facility poses any wildlife or environmental risk. There is no situation where the County would be responsible in 20-30 years. His experience over 25 years is that the PCA has gotten tougher on financial assurances.
Bob Pfister – they are expanding a landfill next to a landfill and next to where the County found it was appropriate to put a recycling and compost facility. That makes this appropriate to expand here. It is not their plan to subdivide the property into one-acre lots. The request is to continue to operate the current facility in Wright County. There was a comment that they are lining the landfill for MSW. That is not a bad thing, they are an environmentally conscious company and want to be good stewards of the land and are over-engineering the site so they don’t have the problems that were brought up. There is going to be residual from waste that will need a landfill. The Property Value Protection Plan is entirely voluntary and shows they are willing to put their money where their mouth is because they do not believe there will be any impact. Based on the Assessor’s opinion and in the EIS, the PCA conclusion was as follows “looking at County assessments it does not look like the landfill will impact property values”. They have offered 100% the assessed values of properties when they come up for sale. There has been no devaluation of properties in the area based on the County Assessor.
Mike Niewind – general manager and resident of Buffalo – they are asking to stay in business in Wright County it has been in business 52 years, previously a gravel pit. This has been operated under different owners but clearly an industrial use. This is adjacent to the County Compost Facility and when operating was an industrial use. When they looked at purchasing from Veolia there were no pre-existing statements about when it would be full or reports about closing. The statement that it would close in a few years was not in their purchase agreement or come from them. They would like to maximize the use. The Board has not been inundated with complaints on activities or conditions or they would expect to be before them with a legal case. He feels they are a good corporate and responsible landfill operator. There was an old PCA, 1993 cease order on the previous owner and has been a source of contaminants in the old unlined landfill. Some of it contains Wright County citizens’ garbage. He did not think Advanced should be vilified for something they are not responsible for nor did it financially benefit them. However, they are working to mitigate the old site, and it is no relevant to the issue before them. The Company and PCA are on top of any potential threats, it would be nice if they could turn back time and line the old facility, but they cannot. Opposition includes people that were part of the family that owned the site. They have taken responsibility for it. They have addressed all concerns and is the reason there have been no complaints in the last four years. There has been inaccurate information from the opponents. This is not a new landfill, but expansion so they can continue operating effectively. Will preserve jobs, lower disposal costs, reduce transportation costs and includes potential host fees. They have listened to the objections to the previous request and dropped the MSW and reduced the footprint of the request. Expansion does not pose a threat near or far and is the best use of the land and they will continue to work with the PCA to monitor and mitigate problems from previous owners. Thanked each Commissioner for the time taken to study volumes of information from last time and this one. Thanked Riley, Kryzer and John Baker and felt they were fairly treated and want to continue to work in the County and respectively ask for approval.
Daleiden asked if anyone has anything in written form to add? No one came forward.
On a motion by Potter and seconded Vetsch, all voted to close the public portion of the hearing.
Commissioner comments followed:
Commissioner Vetsch understood they have to direct for Findings for final action by December 12.
Commissioner Borrell – as a member of the Planning Commission has been very involved in the hearings. He feels the landfill supports all of the County. Everyone creates waste. He is not bound by the NEQ Plan, sometimes plans change. They have the right to rezone properties, they do it often. With the growth of the County there is a need for a facility like this. He often hears NIMBY and it will ruin my view they don’t own. Lakeshore owners object to a development across the road because it will ruin their lake. He feels they need to be tolerant of neighbors, especially if you live in the country. Examples were given of things/uses owners feel are objectionable that occur in the rural areas. If people want their freedoms, they need to allow other owners theirs. This use is needed, people will lose jobs and 25-30 years down the road there will be fewer places to dispose of their garbage that will raise costs.
Commissioner Husom – the issue before them is the Plan, but since Borrell addressed trash, of course landfills have their place; however her research found that the MN PCA has a policy plan that by 2030 only a small percentage of waste will go to landfills because of reduce, reuse and recycle and organic recovery is in place. Now much waste is going into burning facilities. The 17 existing facilities in our service area have large capacities left and much is going to these burning facilities. An article in the Star Tribune reports that there is not enough going to the burning facility despite a State law. State regulators are pressing trash haulers to start filling the incinerators instead of landfilling. Elk River’s is running below capacity due to a lack of trash. There are alternatives and there is going to be less reason to put garbage in landfills because energy can be produced from garbage. She is not disputing this company because heard good things about them; but is troubled that an out of state company is asking them to negate our Land Use Plan 1978, 1988, and reviewed and spent a lot of time reaffirming it in 2007. Much work went into the Plan, was thoughtfully done and is AG for a reason. To go out in the middle of agricultural and rezone industrial does not make any sense, and that is meant for industrial parks. It is not as simple as plans can be changed, but was developed for the protection of agricultural. This is a vision for the future with specific policies and to sets goals. Taking the oath of office she swore she would execute her duties to the best of her ability; and that means she must support the townships and residents. Three townships sent letters requesting they deny the rezoning and it is important to follow the wishes of the citizens and officers of the townships.
Commissioner Vetsch – they have discretion to make changes, but on what foundation or merit do they make changes to the zoning ordinances is what is at hand. Heard from many people and read hundreds of pages, transcripts, etc., record from the Planning Commission and from what he has heard tonight. The applicant has not sufficiently demonstrated a change in the goals and policies of the Plan and he has not heard any convincing arguments that there are changes in the County. Does not argue they run a great operation. Cover on the landfill might be a good use but does not change what they are doing in the County. Changing from MSW to industrial does not change or warrant a change to rezone. He cannot support the applicants request for rezoning because they do not meet the burden to change to 155.028.
Commissioner Potter – noted he has not always agreed with previous Staff or former Commissioners. However, prior to 2007 these representatives made sure everyone was at the table and were part of this Plan. They did not just arbitrarily came up with this and it represents what they all wanted. Ten years is not that old and those who wanted to participate were there, he was the Mayor of Albertville at the time. If at some time in the future the Board decides to revisit the NEQ Plan they can, it seems to be working for the County now. Niewind has been great each time they were out and answered questions. He cannot support spot-zoning this property.
Potter moved to direct Findings for denial. Husom seconded the motion.
Borrell asked they consider when these people are out of their jobs, the other industries that will be impacted. Vetsch – many people move to the County and rely on this Plan, how about those residents that are left vulnerable because it means nothing. Much time and input was put into the Plan owners relied on the Plan and the residents are getting what they paid for. Borrell if they cannot make a change, why does the Board even meet. He felt it is their responsibility to make these decisions. Potter responded to Borrell that if at some time in the future the County Board wants to reopen and study the NEQ Plan he would be willing to do it. Husom – through due process and proper procedures.
Vetsch asked if they have an indication there is a majority of COW is that enough.
Kryzer – they can take a vote on it if they want, it is not final action. Borrell – could direct the County Attorney to draft for Findings for approval also. Borrell asked if they are doing motions at this meeting.
Daleiden the consensus is that the COW recommends to County Board of Commissioners and direct Staff to develop Findings consistent with a denial of the request to rezone from AG General Agricultural to I-1 General Industry.
A motion by Potter, seconded by Husom all voted to adjourn the meeting at 11:20 p.m.
(End of 11-15-17 COTW Minutes)
Daleiden made a motion to accept the withdrawal request from Advanced Disposal Rolling Hills Landfill, Inc. for the application for rezoning. The motion was seconded by Husom. Potter said he will go with the recommendation of counsel. However, he referenced the time, effort and cost to the public, Planning & Zoning, and the County, only to have the applications withdrawn. For the applicant to keep coming back results in much expense, and it would be nice to arrive at a final decision. The motion carried 5-0.
The meeting recessed at 9:41 AM and reconvened at 9:50 AM.
On a motion by Vetsch, second by Husom, all voted to refer the funding of the request to the Ways & Means Committee. Discussion will include how to fund this request through the Fair Board.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden moved to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded by Potter. Potter said when Courts and related departments move to the Justice Center in the third quarter of 2019, one idea is to move staff from the Health & Human Services Center to the Government Center. Doing that will place departments at full capacity on day one. The Board is considering how long to remain at the Government Center. He wants the public to understand the Board is discussing handling this in the most cost effective manner. The motion to approve the minutes carried 5-0. The minutes follow:
Authorize Signatures On Revised Joint Powers Agreement For Midwest Regional Forensic Laboratory
Asleson explained that there has been concern that the use of the lab or requests for services has not equated to the County’s share of funding, which has been solely based on population. In early 2017, a task force was put together with representation from each member county. The result is a formula change based on 60% population and 40% lab usage. A revised Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) includes the change in financing and changes to outdated language.
Borrell asked if there is new language on Page 6, Section 8.03, Services for Non-Member Counties. Asleson was unsure if the language was in the original JPA but it was in the JPA from 2012. Borrell questioned the fees for delivery of services being set by the Anoka County Board. Potter responded that Anoka County is the fiscal agent so it would make sense. Husom added that Anoka County owns the equipment and the space. Potter said the proposed JPA includes a revision of policy and usage. He viewed it as a better and fairer representation of what is occurring. Husom stated that the County is paying 19% by population base. Usage is increasing and at some point will exceed the population base. She said the other counties are in agreement with the change.
Daleiden moved to approve the revised JPA with Midwest Regional Forensic Lab. The motion was seconded by Potter. Asleson stated the JPA is designed to extend for 5 years through 2022. There may be revisions prior to that time due to the census in 2020. The motion carried 5-0.
Review Wright County Parks Commission Minutes from November 13, 2017 and take actions and necessary:
A. Authorize The Parks & Recreation Department To Apply For Grants
1. Clearwater/Pleasant Park - Pavement Restoration
2. Stanley Eddy Park Reserve - Property Acquisition As Defined By Action At The 5-16-17 County Board Meeting
3. Otsego Park - River Bank Stabilization
Mattice said the Clearwater/Pleasant Park Pavement Restoration Project was in the Capital Improvement Plan last year. The recommended action is to apply for Federal Recreational Trail and Outdoor Recreation Grants. Resolutions will follow at a future date. The Stanley Eddy Park Reserve property acquisition was discussed in May. The landowner is agreeable to the appraisal. Grants include Natural and Scenic Area and Outdoor Recreation Grants. The Otsego River Bank Stabilization Project includes a Conservation Partnership Grant requiring a matching grant of $50,000. Daleiden met with the SWCD and the hope is for repairs to be completed at one time as a cost savings to all involved. The Corp of Engineers built the dike, but only rocked it so far. The problems are created from the action. The area to be improved is from just west of Parrish Avenue to CR 101.
Vetsch made a motion to authorize the Parks & Recreation Department to apply for grants for the Clearwater/Pleasant Pavement Restoration project, the Stanley Eddy Park Reserve Property Acquisition, and for the Otsego Park River Bank Stabilization. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
B. Approve Recommendation To Not Pursue A Land Acquisition Near Robert Ney Regional Park
On a motion by Potter, second by Daleiden, all voted not to pursue the acquisition as recommended by the Parks Commission.
C. Authorize Parks & Recreation Department To Continue Conversations & Document Preparation With The City Of Hanover On A Partnership For Improvements To Riverside Park
Mattice said improvements will include expanding the shore fishing operations, improving the canoe launch area, and adding an archery range. A memorandum of understanding will be developed to reflect cost sharing and working collaboratively for the benefit of the public.
Potter moved to authorize the Parks & Recreation Department to continue conversations and document preparation with the City of Hanover on a partnership for improvements to Riverside Park. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Adopt Two Separate Resolutions Related To A Grant Application Through The Transportation Alternatives Program For Phase 1 Of The Crow River Regional Trail (CSAH 17):
If awarded, grant dollars will be used to pave the trail. Estimated project cost is $600,000. The grant request will be submitted for $400,000. The Parks Department will look to secure additional grant funding to offset the local contribution prior to the project year of 2022.
A. Sponsor Agency Resolution
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #17-66, for the Sponsor Agency Resolution for the “Transportation Alternatives” project identified as CSAH 17 (Crow River Regional Trail Phase 1) Trail Paving. The motion was seconded by Vetsch and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
B. Resolution Agreeing To Maintain Facility
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #17-67, assuming responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the CSAH 17 (Crow River Regional Trail Phase 1) Trail Paving Project. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Authorize Highway Engineer Virgil Hawkins & Assistant Highway Engineer Chad Hausmann To Attend NACE Annual Meeting/Management & Technical Conference, Wisconsin Dells, WI On April 22-26, 2018
Hawkins stated this is a budgeted expense but requires approval by the County Board as it involves out-of-state travel. Potter moved to approve, seconded by Vetsch. The motion carried 5-0.
Set Transportation Committee Of The Whole (TCOTW) Meeting To Discuss The Following:
A. 2018 Transportation Plan Update
B. Construction Project Updates (Hwy 9, 38, and 18)
C. Federal Funding (FY 2022) Application
Hawkins requested “Major Equipment Budget Update” be added to the TCOTW Agenda. Potter moved to schedule a TCOTW Meeting for 12-20-17 at 1:00 P.M. The meeting will be held at the Highway Building. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Approve Resolution Of Final Acceptance For The CSAH 39 Left Turn Lane @ Nashua Ave NE Project, Contract #1704, Knife River Corporation – North Central of Sauk Rapids, MN, & Authorize Final Payment Of $3,386.33
Husom moved to adopt Resolution #17-68, seconded by Potter. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Adopt Resolution Approving The County Water Plan Extension
O’Hare explained the Water Plan went through a full revision in 2005. In 2015, an extension was approved through the end of 2017. The request is to approve another extension because of the One Watershed One Plan (1W1P). About 2/3 of the County will be covered by the 1W1P next year, and this update will follow that draft until it becomes final in 2018. That entire plan will be incorporated across the entire County to see how effective it is. In the remaining areas (northern 1/3 of the Mississippi St. Cloud area and South Fork Area in the south and west), they have identified additional items that they would like to consider which is listed in the implementation portion of the update. Further discussion ensued on the Executive Summary and O’Hare was asked to correct population inaccuracies in the document. Vetsch referenced the water bodies dealing with mercury and fish tissues which did not include a target start or completion date. O’Hare said this is the PCA’s timetable. She believes it is an observation but the PCA may not necessarily do anything about it as it occurs naturally. It serves as a public health notice alert.
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #17-69 approving the County Water Plan Extension. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Adoption Of Resolution Establishing The Wright County 2018 Certified Budget And Levy
Kelly said the budget and levy being presented is the culmination of budget sessions, and the evening Board Meeting held to take public input on the draft budget and draft certified levy. What is presented is the same as the preliminary budget adopted in September.
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #17-70 establishing the Wright County 2018 Certified Budget and Levy. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. The total Budget is $128,444,953 and the total Certified Taxable Levy is $62,680,533.
On a motion by Potter, second by Husom, roll call vote carried 5-0 to adopt Resolution #17-71 setting the Auditor/Treasurer salary at $128,670 for 2018.
On a motion by Potter, second by Husom, roll call vote carried 5-0 to adopt Resolution #17-72 setting the Sheriff’s salary at $130,318 for 2018.
On a motion by Potter, second by Vetsch, roll call vote carried 5-0 to adopt Resolution #17-73 setting the County Attorney’s salary at $147,997 for 2018.
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #17-74 setting the County Board Salary for 2018 at $39,931 exclusive of per diem payments. The motion was seconded by Vetsch and carried 4-1 on a roll call vote with Daleiden casting the nay vote.
On a motion by Vetsch, second by Daleiden, roll call vote carried 5-0 to adopt Resolution #17-75 appointing Dr. Quinn Strobl as the Wright County Medical Examiner for 2018.
The Board discussed whether to hold the 12-26-17 Board Meeting. It was the consensus to place this item on the next County Board Meeting for discussion.
On a motion by Daleiden, second by Husom, all voted to cancel the 1-16-18 County Board Meeting due to the occurrence of five Tuesdays in January.
1. STMA Safe Schools Meeting. Potter attended. Mental health issues continue to be a topic of discussion.
2. Retaining Wall, HHS. Potter reported the retaining wall behind the Health & Human Services Building has been replaced.
3. Transportation Alliance Meeting. Potter attended a meeting on 12-11-17. He was appointed to the Transportation Alliance Board effective in 2018.
4. Buffalo Safe Schools. Husom attended a recent meeting. Participation in taking college credits in high school is being encouraged and students are meeting with counselors to discuss career paths.
5. Legislative Breakfast, Workforce Center. Husom attended 12-08-17. Those helped through Central MN Jobs & Training Service were highlighted. The forum provided an opportunity to meet with legislators.
6. Midwest Regional Forensic Lab. Husom attended a meeting on 11-28-17. She said the Lab is on the cutting edge for technology and she is very pleased with their work. Borrell suggested the group look at charging extra for court appearances for Forensic Lab staff.
7. Rogers Safe Schools. Daleiden said mental health is a topic of discussion. There is also a shortage for placements because of staffing issues.
8. Bertram Park. Vetsch attended a recent meeting. Authorized was the purchase of acoustical outfitting for the chalet ($3,900). The pool will be opened in June, 2018. The group discussed the proposal for a future campground on Bertram Lake.
9. Emergency Management & Public Health Work Group. Vetsch attended a meeting where discussion included public health and a joint regional assessment (March, 2018), and encouraging the public to sign up for Everbridge (emergency notifications).
Daleiden requested that the following item be added to the 12-20-17 Transportation Committee Of The Whole Agenda, “Briarwood Avenue (Access to Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park).” Kelly will notify the Highway Engineer.
Haus made comment regarding the CSAH 18 Project which will be discussed at the upcoming TCOTW Meeting on 12-20-17. She stated she is fine with whatever the County wants to do within the right-of-way. She said the County is a beneficiary of ag preserve dollars and asked that the County uphold the ag preserve law.
Vetsch had a phone conversation with Haus yesterday. It is his understanding that the Highway Department will present an alternative plan for the project. Haus said the project is based on statistics from a 2004 study and reminded the Board that there will be a new study in January, 2018. She asked the Board to consider reducing the footprint of the project. Haus plans to send additional questions to the Board.
Borrell announced this is the last meeting he will serve as Board Chair, as he will not be present for the 12-19-17 Board Meeting. He thanked the Board and staff for the support provided.
The Board congratulated Ed DuBois, Wright County Journal Press, on his retirement.
The meeting adjourned at 11:06 A.M.
Published in the Herald Journal Dec. 29,, 2017.