PLAN COMMISSION MEETING
Town of Cooks Valley
April 18, 2012
Chairman Doug Zwiefelhofer called the Plan Commission meeting to order at 7:32 pm on Wednesday April 18, 2012 at the Cooks Valley Town Hall [15784 40th Street]. Members of the plan commission were: Doug Zwiefelhofer, Arlene Hintzman, Scott Johnson, Carol M. Clements, and Thomas Short. Doug Zwiefelhofer introduced the town’s attorney, Glenn Stoddard. See attached list of delegation present.
Scott Johnson, member of the plan commission, thanked the town board, town clerk, and town treasurer for their hard work toward reaching the goal of tonight’s meeting and thanked the residents of Cooks Valley for their comments and input at the April 16th night. He welcomed Attorney Glenn Stoddard to the meeting.
Public Comment: Darrel Fehr commented that the issue of trucking not following the haul route has been addressed, the roads are being upgraded, and EOG and Chippewa Sands are on the right track as far as using GPS, safety and monitoring. The Town of Auburn is pursuing the items of land values and trucking issues. Victoria Trinko expressed her concern about the water in the Town of Cooks Valley.
Discussion and Negotiations and possible action between the plan commission and Preferred Sands Mining Company: Chairman Doug Zwiefelhofer consulted the list of concerns and solutions compiled at Monday April 16th, 2012mmeeting. Negative perception was listed at the beginning. Doug Zwiefelhofer gave a history of new houses built in the Town of Cooks Valley. At this time, there has been a drop in the number of new houses constructed which can be accounted to the economy but with sand mining coming into the Town of Cooks Valley has hurt the building of homes. He suggested though this fact may not be proven, perhaps Paul McLean of Preferred Sand would consider promoting scholarships, educating the public about the mining with tours of the mine and supporting a coop jobs/learning about the mining business.
Attorney Glenn Stoddard suggested the plan commission direct their focus to the wording and intent of the Chapter 19 Non-Metallic Mining Ordinance. The plan commission must determine if the mining application is complete, make that recommendation to the town board who in turn makes the decision the application is complete. Or the plan commission must determine if more information is needed to make the application complete before making the recommendation to the town that the application is complete. This is the first threshold question.
Assuming the application is complete; the plan commission then looks at the standards in the ordinance to determine whether or not the mine application is consistent in the best interest of the town and the health, safety, prosperity, aesthetics and general welfare of the people and communities within the Town.
Arlene Hintzman asked about a paragraph that was omitted in the second application of Preferred Sands from the first application. This was concerning the road haul route and this issue was resolved due the agreement with Chippewa County prior to the second draft of the application.
There was discussion of escrow for 60th Street as an alternate route and the county agreement for 186th Avenue and County Highway DD.
Attorney Glenn Stoddard suggested after the plan commission examines the application, then the plan commission must address the permit with the items and concerns listed by the residents and determine if their concerns were addressed. Ultimately, if the application is complete and everything on the permit is complete, the plan commission would make a motion to the town board while stating their precise points supporting any changes to the permit to insure the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the Town of Cooks Valley.
The plan commission proceeded through the questions and answers on the Preferred Sands’ application. It was noted Preferred Sands needed to go through the classification process for a map change to the town’s comprehensive plan.
There was a discussion on dust control. When the Proffered Sands mining operation began, there was no air permitting process required at the mine site. However, the air permit now has to include the elements of the mine site since the construction of the dry plant in the Town of Bloomer. Preferred Sands needed a fugitive dust control plan, which they now have, at the mine site.
There was a discussion of the monitoring of wells for flocculant and the possible monitoring for nitrates in the future. Paul McLean said they will do the same quality of monitoring as the county puts into force.
Tom Short made a motion that the Preferred Sands application is complete. Carol M. Clements seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
The plan commission proceeded with examination of the Preferred Sands mining permit.
There was discussion of adding a review of the permit due to unforeseen substantial public health or safety conditions that might arise that are detrimental to persons or property in the neighborhood. A modification paragraph will be added to the permit.
There was a discussion about the length of possible inactivity at the mine site. A suggestion of three years with no activity might result in possible reclamation provisions if activity should commence and a possible renewal process or opening of the application and permitting process. The permit term is 30 years from the date of approval.
There was discussion of a plan/added condition to mitigate the noise and light pollution from the plant operation to be submitted to the town board.
There was discussion of well monitoring on the mine site and possible contamination of their wells. If the monitoring indicated contamination in the on-site wells, then Preferred Sands would test neighboring wells. If the neighboring wells were contaminated, Preferred Sands would replace the neighboring wells. Preferred Sands was concerned about the determination that the contamination emanated from their mine site. Tom Short questioned the procedure Preferred Sand would use if contamination was detected in the mine wells. Paul McLean indicated they would consult with scientists to rectify the contamination. This concern/modification will be drafted into a proposal by Preferred Sands.
There was discussion of the monitoring of trucks for stop sign violation, tarping, and other violations.
There was discussion of property value guarantees in relation to adjoining land owners not associated with mining. It was felt that property value guarantees should be structured the same with each mining company. Preferred Sands indicated they needed additional time to determine how many homes would be affected by this proposal and the usage of the ¼ mile factor.
Proposed aesthetic values and property tax relief were other debated items.
Arlene Hintzman made a motion recommending the approval of Preferred Sands permit with the addition of the discussed conditions and modifications to be worked on by the town attorney Glenn Stoddard and the Preferred Sands attorney. Carol M. Clements seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Tom Short made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 11:52 pm. Carol M. Clements seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Typed: April 22, 2012 Victoria Trinko Town Clerk