PLAN COMMISSION MEETING
Town of Cooks Valley
May 1, 2012
Chairman Doug Zwiefelhofer called the plan commission meeting to order at 7:33 pm on Tuesday May 1, 2012 at the Cooks Valley Town Hall [15784 40th Street]. Members of the plan commission present at the May 1, 2012 meeting were: Doug Zwiefelhofer, Arlene Hintzman, Scott Johnson, Carol M. Clements, and Thomas Short. Scott Johnson recused himself from the plan commission meeting as he may have an interest in the in the outcome of the negotiations. There was an introduction of the plan commission members. There was an introduction of the EOG representatives.
Scott Johnson turned in his comments-see attached paper for comments.
Jane Sonnentag-there is more trash on the haul route, pop cans and wrappers. She had her well tested today and it was okay. A majority of the truck drivers are courteous. Some truckers are traveling on County Highway DD instead of on the haul route.
Earl Hassemer commented on the bright lights on the EOG trucks are flickering and aimed in an upward direction which is blinding, making it hard to see whether meeting the truck or the truck is following your vehicle.
Scott Johnson commented that trucks are parking on the road.
Discussion and possible negotiations between the Town of Cooks Valley plan commission and the EOG mining company:
Review of the application-Arlene Hintzman made a motion that the EOG application is complete and to proceed. Tom Short seconded the motion. The motion carried 4-0. Discussion on Chapter 20 –Change to comprehensive plan map needs to be presented by the landowner, not the mining company. Arlene Hintzman read the introduction of Chapter 20 to the public to inform them of the procedure to be followed by the landowner.
There was discussion of addressing the permit vs. developer’s agreement.
Jon Behling’s comments-The developer’s agreement was presented to the Town of Cooks Valley on February 9, 2012. It is basically the same as the Town of Howard’s but with some changes. Property values were changed to include people who had their house placed already on the market.
There was an explanation of the difference between the ordinance vs. developers agreement. EOG would like to avoid some of the stricter portions of the ordinance.
Attorney Glenn Stoddard suggested the plan commission use the ordinance but the plan commission can modify and specify what is or what is not included in the permit from the developers agreement. A list of conditions could be put into the developers agreement. Since the Supreme Court ruling upheld the Chapter 19 ordinance, Attorney Glenn Stoddard would like to see a permit issued with the developers agreement incorporated into it. Sticking with the ordinance keeps things more legal and treats all companies the same.
Attorney Jon Behling commented EOG does not want to be treated differently but felt since the document is in front of them; we could use the provisions in them. Attorney Jon Behling went through the mining agreement. He started with the date of issuance to De. 31, 2031 as a definite date as an end of the license. EOG would commit to a 3 year inactivity modification that would signal the start of reclamation. The truck traffic segment would have the exact same wording as in the road agreement. To increase the hauling to weekends, EOG would have to go to the chairman or clerk of the Town of Cooks Valley to make their request. The amount of trucking would have a schedule of 24 hrs. 5 days a week to accomplish the target number of loads. EOG could haul on weekends to make up lost time due to inclement weather or if a culvert goes out.
There was discussion of the regulations or requests from Preferred Sands in relation to EOG’s requests as far as noise and traffic mitigation. It was noted by the plan commission that comments from the residents concerned more trucking noise than mine noise. Tom Maul of EOG was willing to try putting up screens to reduce noise levels and felt the proposed road improvement would take care of most of the noise. EOG would be comfortable with a 35 mph speed limit on 135th Avenue to County Highway DD and 45 mph from County Highway DD to State Highway 40. EOG is willing to work to get 60 dba with truck hauling and mine noise.
Attorney Glenn Stoddard suggested EOG would need to develop other mitigation methods if the trees and shrubs do not limit the noise. EOG wants to be responsible to the citizens. Therefore, Attorney Glenn Stoddard requested EOG to provide a noise mitigation plan to the town board.
Attorney Jon Behring moved to the subject of an annual review. He does not want to place the millions of dollars invested by his client EOG in jeopardy if the town board personal changes and revokes the permit. Attorney Glenn Stoddard rebutted an annual review is not a revocation of the permit but a means to discuss noncompliance of the permit. If there is a noncompliance with the ordinance, there would be time limit for EOG to come into compliance with ordinance. Attorney Jon Behling requested to come back to this item.
EOG prepares an annual tonnage report for Chippewa County and is willing to prepare a monthly report of to the town on tonnage hauled from the mine.
Trucking using compression brakes is not an issue with their trucks.
EOG is testing wells ¼ mile from the mine site. They will do the acryl amide testing of the wells. Three monitoring wells are on the mine to determine the level of water and test for certain contaminants as requested from the county.
There was a question of what was EOG’s game plan if the wells on the mine site or resident’s wells may go bad?
There was a question about other materials that may be hauled in from other WI mines. A proposed modification of materials within 50-60 mi. radius could be hauled in but any further distance would need approval from the board. EOG has a waste storage facility license from Chippewa County.
The provision of blasting is consistent with the wording in Preferred Sands’ agreement. EOG has concerns with two homes that have damage from blasting; EOG will use the property value guarantee and will purchase the homes. David Clements commented other town chairmen have used averages of submitted appraisals to determine property value.
Tom Short expressed concern about the replacement of wells and possible repairing of lawns or other damage done during the replacement of wells.
There was discussion of providing water for residents and agricultural wells while the replacement of wells in being accomplished. EOG is reluctant to furnishing water for a large number of cattle.
The schedule for blasting is between 10:00 am-3:00 pm unless there is an unexpected delay. For example, a thunderstorm would prevent the scheduled blasting. In the event of a delay, EOG would notify the residents of a later blasting time.
There was discussion of abutting property owners to qualify for purchasing property value guarantee. vs. using ¼ mile radius for property value guarantees.
Attorney Glenn Stoddard suggested to keep the standard for each company equal, the town could go instead with affected property owners; using a rational for affected owners that is consistent with a definition of affected owners in regards to health, safety and general welfare of the owners.
Attorney Glenn Stoddard noted p. 16 subsection 2 contains the discussion of determining an appraiser for determining property value.
The restoration process was described as the mining company finishes one panel of the mine before opening another panel.
EOG agreed to pay for the town attorney fees after the licensing process has been completed.
Rules of inspection of the mine site are MSHA rules. Town board members or others cannot roam the mine site as the topography of the mine is constantly changing so there are safety issues.
In regards to remedies and enforcement of the ordinance, it was felt the town needed to confer with the town attorney and study the language that has been put in place.
Air quality and fugitive dust control- EOG could agree to a water truck on site at all times. Air monitors to be installed this summer with Dr. John Richards advising them.
Tom Short commented on trucking 24 hrs. vs. more trucks to do the volume of material while other trucks are carrying other materials for road construction. There should be an effort to not have a mixture of trucks traveling on the road.
In an extended discussion of property value, putting an economic value for the stress placed by the mining company on the land owners should be considered.
Attorney Jon Behling said the mining company will not pay for property value on the haul route.
We need to revisit this issue if it is not resolved.
The notion of a Nuisance buy out was discussed but Jon Behling said EOG, as a corporation, would not be willing to do this.
There was a suggestion of using a factor of how far people are set back from the center line and who is affected by the trucking, noise, and dust for determining property value guarantees,.
Attorney Glenn Stoddard stated, “You have to realize we haven’t decided anything with the other companies. We are going through a new process. You firm challenged our ordinance a few years ago. I would have been a little easier process, but the reality is, you come in with an agreement, but more importantly, you came in with a mine before that. And now people are dealing with it and you have to expect this. You know, you didn’t have to bring in the agreement, but we looked at Howard’s. We would have had that, but we also would have looked at our ordinance. It’s not that we are trying to punish you. I would say everyone in the town appreciates what you are doing here. Jon Behling said, “It feels close to punishment.” Glenn Stoddard, “I think what we are interested in doing and the reason why we set it up this way is to see if we can come to an agreement. If it’s called a development agreement or a permit negotiated and agreed to, isn’t really not a lot of difference. My advice is we’re going to expect each of the companies to act just as responsibly as the others and there are going to be differences because of the locations and the types of operations. Other than that, I think we want to be fair. But we also need to be fair to the residents too. Through no intent of their own, they are now dealing with the impacts of mining. That’s not to say mining is good or bad, it’s different. It's changed the community, and Cooks Valley is now ground zero for frack sand mining, and I I’m not making that up. And it happened because the ordinance was suspended for a while and now here we are again. We are trying through eh legal process in a fair way, but we got real people who are affected and have real property that is affected and we ‘be go serious concerns, that are legitimate. We are not trying to beat up on your but I think this discussion and the one we had with Preferred is the way this thing ought to be done, across the table, in open session, people asking questions, not pounding their chests and acting out of character. We’re just trying to work through some problems here. And I know your concerns, your company’s concerns, and with Preferred. And nobody wants to be regulated but by the same token none of the folks are living here want to be impacted adversely. And they want the town to do something about it. So that’s what we are trying to work out. We’re not to beat up on your or pick on you just because you came forward with some good ideas. They are good ideas and we are trying to tweak them and make them better.
Tom Short made a motion that the town board develop a permit that has the primary condition being a developers agreement to be negotiated between the town board and EOG with the issues discussed tonight to be more fully addressed. The main issues being:
Arlene Hintzman seconded the motion. The motion carried 4-0.
Adjourn: Tom Short made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:38 pm. Arlene Hintzman seconded the motion. The motion carried 4-0.
Typed: May 6, 2012 Victoria Trinko Town Clerk