PLAN COMMISSION MEETING
Town of Cooks Valley
April 30, 2012
Doug Zwiefelhofer called the plan commission meeting to order at 7:30 pm on Monday April 30, 2012 at the Cooks Valley Town Hall [15784 40th Street]. Members of the plan commission present at the April 30, 2012 meeting were: Doug Zwiefelhofer, Arlene Hintzman, Scott Johnson, Carol M. Clements, and Thomas Short.
Comment by Chairman Town of Cooks Valley: Chairman Darrel Fehr gave an explanation of the expiration of the terms of some members of the plan commission and position of officers. Due to this expiration of terms of the plan commission members, there may have to be another meeting with Preferred Sands. The town board reappointed Doug Zwiefelhofer, Arlene Hintzman, and Carol M. Clements and they have signed their oaths of office. Darrel Fehr then recused himself as he has had dealings with Chippewa Sands.
Election of plan commission officers: Arlene Hintzman nominated Doug Zwiefelhofer for chairman. Carol M. Clements made a motion to close the nominations. Tom Short seconded the motion. Using the hand method, the motion carried 4-0. Tom Short recused himself as he has had dealings with Chippewa Sands. Doug Zwiefelhofer said the plan commission, not being lawyers or scientists, are trying to make a recommendation to the town board. There was an introduction of the plan commission members. There was an introduction of Chippewa Sands representatives Steve Schimmel and Eric Strang.
Presentation by the Chippewa Sands mining company: Steve Schimmel and Eric Strang used sight maps with an overview of the Buchner-Robinson/Panosian mining company. There was an outline of the mine sight, the storm water ponds, stock pile berms, 100 ft. separation from the wetland area, water management ponds, and 4 monitoring wells with quarterly reports from SEH. There are 7 phases which will go slightly north and in an easterly direction. The final reclamation plan will create more farmland but some hills will retain their height. Chippewa Sands can not vary from this reclamation plan. If requested by owners, Chippewa Sands can create wetlands.
Review and deem Chippewa Sands application as complete: Chairman Doug Zwiefelhofer informed the public the next meeting will be with the town attorney in attendance and Chippewa Sands agreed to pay the attorney fees for the second meeting to work on the permit. Chapter 20 dealing with the change to the comprehensive land map must be requested by the land owner with the adjoining land owners being contacted of the proposed change. This is a structured way to communicate the proposed changes to the adjoining land owners and changes in the taxation classification. Chippewa Sands reported no further construction of buildings is planned at the mining site.
Tom Short would like assurance on water quality and property value guarantee as an adjoining land owner for the sale of property containing buildings.
Gene Pagel-expressed concerns of dust blowing as observed at the EOG site and the accumulation of more mines with dust blowing. With all this area, how can this be watered down to prevent dust from blowing?
Barb Arendt-would like limits on mine operating hours and truck hauling schedules. Noise levels have to be addressed.
Earl Hassemer-trucks are still not tarped consistently; his house is still shaking from the truck traffic. Engine braking is still a problem though it has abated from last year. The truck traffic started at 6:00 am, so for 12 hours of trucks pounding people live with the noise and they should not have to have the noise. It is more pleasant to sleep now that they have moved. The Town of Cooks Valley is not like it used to be.
Beth Pagel- is thankful for Ordinance 19 and grateful for all the work the commission is doing. She feels a permit needs to be reviewed every year. Her concerns: the amount of open land and possible expansion of the mines creating more open land; the amount of time of operation-people need a break from the noise; and we are to be caretakers of this earth and live in peace; water is worth more than gold; with the sand mines, property values have dropped-no one wants to live here. The commission should choose to watch out for the other land owners.
Jane Sonnentag-concerns about the water. Will the mining company pay for their water or limit how much water is used? The citizens and cattle need water. She would like a yearly testing of wells with reports of the chemicals in the water and limited open acres with all the mines. The commission and board need to look out for the majority versus a select few.
Scott Johnson-see attached comments.
Earl Hassemer-the policing of rules needs to be addressed. We make the ordinance but then they can not be enforced.
Beth Pagel asked about a fund for the policing of ordinances.
Gene Pagel felt the permits for the existing three mines should not set precedence and some conditions should not be allowed for future mines.
Discussion and possible negotiations between the Town of Cooks Valley plan commission and the Chippewa Sands mining company:
Dust control-all trucks must be tarped. Three companies, Dirt Boy, Truck It Transport, and Terry Durand Trucking are hauling for Chippewa Sands with a total of 10 trucks. The plan commission requested GPS on the trucks would help self-police the trucks.
Trucks on the road: Trucks are allowed to operate 11 hours. They are hauling Monday through Friday 6:00 am -6:00 pm, no holidays or weekends. They would close around 7:30 am and 11:28 am and evenings trucks would be held up until buses are off the route. The materials from another mine site hauled in increased the volume of trucks in addition to Chippewa Sands trucks. Chippewa Sands would provide information on the materials hauled into the mine site. Their volume is a million tons per year. Demand has dropped lately but will pick up so they will add more trucks.
Air permit vs. air monitoring permit-a fugitive dust plan is in place. How to limit the dust blowing off the piles. They put limited water on the piles as they want the water content at 10% for transporting the sand from the pile. A plan should be submitted for the Wednesday meeting to address high wind issues. As a water truck is being shared with the New Auburn site, the commission would like a water truck at each site.
Water quality- the monitoring wells are at 50-75 feet to measure and record the level of the water on a quarterly report. Chippewa Sands exceeds the requirements of the state with the placement of rubber lines in the water ponds. The commission would like well testing within a ½ mile of the mine site to be monitored annually for the amount of water used and the amount of makeup water used at the mine site.
Discussion of diesel fuel-Chippewa Sands reported they store a minimal amount of diesel fuel on the site and the trucks are fueled at night.
Lights are the mine should be directed downward, white noise of the trucks instead of the beep-beep- plant trees along the driveway and the berm [Chippewa Sands offered to plant trees on neighboring property to control fugitive dust.]
Property value-the plan commission suggested 1/4 mile out from the mine site for property value guarantee on property owner not possessing sand. There was discussion about the difference between assessed values and appraised values.
Chippewa Sands has given Chippewa County 3.9 million dollars for the construction on Cty. Hwy. A, $35,000 yearly for maintenance, and a 5% contingency on the 3.9 million for unknown work on the highway. The hill will be cut down 14 feet.
Chippewa sands will bring a plan for the Wednesday night meeting if there is inactivity at the mine site for 3 years.
There was a question on the length of the mine operation.
Financial security is on file with the county in the reclamation plan.
If blasting becomes an issue, Chippewa Sands will have to go through the county for a permit.
Most of the sand will be kept at the mine site for reclamation.
Scott Johnson made a motion to adjourn at 9:38 pm. Carol M. Clements seconded the motion. The motion carried 4-0.
The meeting was concluded at 8:40 pm.
Typed: May 5, 2012 Victoria Trinko Town Clerk