The commissioners met on December 17, their final meeting of the year, to discuss the Lundquist mining facility once more after giving WM Mueller & Sons (WMS) more time to bring information forward regarding the previous meeting’s concerns.
At the previous meeting, the county commissioners decided to delay their decision of granting WMS an Interim Use Permit (IUP) for their aggregate mining facility on the Lundquist property in Dahlgren Township. The decision was made after several in the community brought concerns forward regarding the danger of silica dust from crushing, and noise pollution affecting the nearby property value from the daily happenings at the gravel pit.
Jason Mielke, Land Use Manager for Carver County, once again came forward to present the new information that WMS and the county had received since the previous meeting on December 3.
“First off, I would like to go through and explain this particular request,” said Mielke.
Mielke continued, stating that the issuance of the IUP would dissolve the current Conditional Use Permit (CUP), and allow WMS to purchase a 103-acre site. However, he emphasized that there are set-back standards that WMS has to follow. All in all, the actual mining would take place in only about 70 acres on the property, including the 20 acres that have already been mined.
A few changes were made to the agreement in response to the previous meeting. One of them, according to Mielke, involved what would happen when the mining area is eventually exhausted. WMS would be responsible for the restoration of the site, and WMS included a date of when the permit would terminate, January 1 of 2050 to be exact. As far as the bypass lane and acceleration lane, WMS will be working with Public Works, and has already changed the bypass to a left turn lane instead. An important note is that all road work will be paid for by WMS, with the county approving of the final design and plans.
As for the washing and crushing of the aggregate materials, which raised concerns in the previous meeting, WMS will now only be granted 100 days annually to do these activities at the facility. They need to notify the county when they are crushing, and when it is over. They also need to send regular reports to the county, to ensure that all numbers are accurate.
As for the noise pollution, Mielke stated that WMS is required to meet state rule. There will be back-up alarms, trucks loading and unloading, and of course mining on site, leading to a lot of sound. The loading pattern, according to Mielke, will change in order to use less alarms. There will also be noise-testing on the homes nearby the property in order to determine the exact effect of the noise pollution.
As with last time, the public was permitted to come forward and give input. One of the biggest concerns was property development near the mining facility. The noise pollution and dust, for many residents, are the problem. Many explained that the crushing and mining activities will more than likely happen during summer, when everyone is trying to be outside and enjoying the weather. The noise pollution would be a disturbance to current residents, and likely would make it difficult for them to sell their property because of the proximity to the mine, according to many.
“Who here would pay top dollar to live next door to a gravel pit?” one resident asked.
After listening to all discussion, the commissioners ultimately approved of the issuance of the IUP, with Commissioner Gayle Degler stating that he agrees with the neighbors to the mining area, but acknowledging that the Lundquists have the right to decide what happens on their property.