The Norwood Young America City Council met recently to discuss a few quick actions around the city. And all of the business before the council was new this time around.
The first of the new business was changing the council meeting times from 6:30pm to 6pm. As many have probably noticed, though the agendas all say 6:30, everything else including the website and door for the city council say meetings start at 6. This issue was brought up in May of this year, and was approved for change by the city council to match with all signage and the website.
One of the next items was to approve a possible new facility: Pattison Sand Company. The company is an aggregate transport company, moving materials such as clay, sandstone, limestone, and asphalt, and they are looking to build a rail spur. A representative of the company, Joe White, attended the city council meeting to speak on behalf of the business.
Pattison has already been before the county commissioners for Conditional Use Permit for Carver County. The location they are proposing to build their rail spur is along highway 212 and Salem Ave. During a public hearing regarding the facility, Steve Helget, city administrator, and councilmember Craig Heher attended to offer comments regarding the facility.
White presented to the council, and explained that at the moment, businesses like Pattison already surround the area. St. Cloud, Shakopee, and Burnsville all have similar facilities, and all utilize 212 for transport. What Pattison is doing wouldn’t have much of an effect on truck traffic on the highway, since the trucks are already transporting. However, the business is working on installing a left turn lane for the Salem Ave location and the county has been preparing to expand 212, so this would hopefully alleviate traffic concerns.
As for growth, White stated he doesn’t have a concrete answer. With the 212 expansion, growth wouldn’t have much of an effect on the traffic, but it depends on that mostly. Right now the estimate is moving 200,000 tons of material for the train. And the good news is, since the train comes through at night, that the train would not be required to whistle every time it changes direction. The council also discussed the possibility of adding a flashing stop sign at the train stop so that people can see the sign easier at night.
The main concern the council expressed was the truck traffic on 212, especially the left turn onto Salem. Mayor Carol Lagergren pointed out that while NYA loves new businesses, the current safety issues with 212 are the main concern. Especially with having to make a left turn, thus stopping traffic until the truck can turn. She also stated that she would approach MnDOT regarding this issue as well as the county for a solution.
Commissioner Jim Ische also came forward, stating that surprisingly there aren’t many locations for a business like this to establish the space it needs along the railway. Once a business came forward for a space, MnDOT and the county tested the product, and found it to be high quality, according to Ische.
“We wish 212 was coming quicker, believe me,” he said. “One of these days we’ve got enough money to go from Carver to Cologne.”
With the 212 project not starting until at 2020, the development of businesses such as Pattison are somewhat difficult, Ische admitted, but once it’s completed it will hopefully fix itself. And as for the signs or acceleration lanes or left turn lanes, for the time being it’s up to MnDOT. But he assured that safety is of the utmost importance, especially since there’s a hill at Salem Ave.
With all of that in mind, the council decided to have the Planning Commission look over some of the ideas for Pattison while the county and MnDOT work to place either an acceleration lane or left turn lane.