Chairman Darrel Fehr called the public hearing to order at 7:00 pm on July 19, 2012 at the Cooks Valley Town Hall. Chairman Darrel Fehr prevailed upon attorney Glenn Stoddard to explain the actions leading to this meeting. Attorney Glenn Stoddard explained the evolution of the 2 proposals presented tonight –Preferred Sands of Minnesota and the Town of Cooks Valley. Attorney Glenn Stoddard talked about the similarity between Preferred Sands of Minnesota and EOG’s proposals and the sending of proposals between each companies’ lawyer. Attorney Glenn Stoddard has heard back from Preferred Sands and EOG, but Chippewa Sands has not returned a proposal. Before July 10th, Glenn Stoddard heard from Preferred Sands asking how the town wanted to proceed, ex. property value protection out ½ mile and indefinitely in place. Water well testing and replacement, air monitoring and setbacks are the same as EOG. Preferred Sands wanted a document or [their lawyer wanted each lawyer] to come up with a document to present to their constituents. Glenn Stoddard sent a document on July 10 to the attorney for Preferred Sands with items taken from EOG’s proposal incorporated into the document. Preferred Sands is not present at tonight’s meeting as they are reviewing the document sent to them on July 10, 2012 by Glenn Stoddard.
The town board is asking about issues in each document that emerge during the public hearing and the final document will look like the town proposal which is set up in the EOG format. Preferred Sands does not want to go with an agreement but rather a permit unlike EOG that wants or has proposed an agreement. Glenn Stoddard’s feelings are that the town should do all permits as a licensing permit rather than as an agreement. For example, with a licensing approach, the implementation of property value guarantee and other issues will be clearer and encompass what the town board and residents want.
Jane Sonnentag asked about all licenses vs. agreements.
Gene Pagel had concerns with the phrase ‘amended haul route from time to time.’
Glenn Stoddard-usually in a long term plan, there may be occasions to change the route if either the town or Preferred Sands would want to change the route. This would have to come through the town board and would eliminate going through the permit process again if this phrase was included in the permit.
Gene Pagel was concerned about the uncertainty residents would have. Residents would like to know how things would be set.
Sheila David had a question about the possible future mines. Would you take items from each permit to make new permits?
Glenn Stoddard- it is conceivable the town board could decide no more mines for the general safety, health, and welfare of the residents of the town or decide a lesser number of trucks, hours, etc. Each permit would be individually dealt with according to the specificity of each mining operation.
Sheila David –Would there be a blank permit for future mines?
Glenn Stoddard- permits decided now would not guarantee these issues would need to be included in future permits. A future mine would have to go through the application and permitting process.
Earl Hassemer-roads would have to be done and other issues decided prior to the issuance of future permits.
Glenn Stoddard is working with other towns that are dealing with the same issues but each town and mine operation is unique and these variables make a big difference in the permit.
Earl Hassemer-Then, denying the permits of Preferred Sands, EOG, and Chippewa Sands is not a possibility?
Glenn Stoddard-the mines would most likely sue as they are in operation and the town is trying to deal with the issues that cause health, safety, and general welfare concerns of the residents.
Jane Sonnentag-noise measurements-Is this at the actual mine site and not down the haul route? Was there anything in the road agreement to deal with the noise of trucks? Noise is the worst for her as there is braking and acceleration at her residence. A large pothole caused more noise but her calls did not have any effect in fixing the pothole. When the pothole involved damage or concerns with their trucks, then it got fixed.
Scott Johnson-see the attached comment
Barb Arendt-see the attached comment
Beth Pagel- felt the town should review the permit more often after the first 5 years than indicated in the proposal. Noise is a big issue and to have the noise from the mine operation 24 hrs. 7 days a week is too much. She did not feel the proposal is addressing the noise issue. She felt the board should limit the times to bring some relief to town people. Mines should not have the ability to make up for the time off as the extra work hours would offset the relief to the residents from the time off.
Mark Berge felt there should not be weekend hauling. Water testing does not address people more than a ¼ mile from or not adjoining the mine site and should be tested annually. Trucks are a distraction especially at night.
David Clements- regarding the state statute- Does it protect the people further out if they can prove with their own data that the mines caused the contamination? Would the mines would have to pay for the well contamination?
Glenn Stoddard- felt the mines would have to pay if there is proof of contamination by the mine.
David Clements-Is it possible to have a bond for the testing of water?
Mark Berge-Dunn County is doing a production tax.
Glenn Stoddard-there may be a way to place a special assessment.
Jane Sonnentag-agrees with Mark about yearly testing of wells and property value guarantee. Does the sale mean just the home and or the whole property?
Glenn Stoddard-Preferred Sands has proposed acres. There was a discussion of adjoining, developed & undeveloped land, and residential property. There needs to be a balance between limiting their operation and then asking for property value guarantee.
Jane Sonnentag- she feels she has no chance to sell like 40 acres with the house.
Barb Arendt- would like the hours and other limits on trucks, noise and light rather than property value guarantee.
Glenn Stoddard-A possibility would be the mining company pays rent for the duration of the operation and the resident would move or have replacement value.
David Clements-there is a good argument if they increase the road width, there should be some compensation. A suggestion is to call our county supervisor and determine if the road is a 2 or 3 rod road.
Glenn Stoddard- moving costs could be included. He would like to see a consistency in property value guarantees, well testing and air monitoring between all permits. The town may not be able to resolve every issue. There is a possible nuisance factor and that would be an issue between the resident and mining company
David Clements – had concerns about the road right of way.
Mark Berge-would rather address the issues on air and water quality rather than limiting hours.
Sheila David- addressed property value protection on page 8. There was a discussion of developed and undeveloped property.
Glenn Stoddard-unless the land is adjoining, the property value guarantee does not affect undeveloped land. The town is trying to protect the people who are already living there and have not the opportunity to move.
David Clements- according to the lot size ordinance, property value guarantee would include the house and 5 acres.
Glenn Stoddard- would like to make a list to have everyone know if they are covered or how it would affect them.
David Clements- question-Will Preferred Sands have to come to the board for an additional permit if they go through the parcels that are listed? This would have to be opened up and they would have to get a reclamation plan [which they have for the Rogge parcel], and they would come to the board for a permit.
Glenn Stoddard-the town can reopen a permit if something comes up.
The mining companies have to put up more bond money as they open up more land.
Beth Pagel-Can the town pool some money to monitor the air and noise?
Darrel Fehr made a motion to close the public hearing at 8:42 pm. David Clements seconded the motion. The motion carried 3-0.
Typed: July 22, 2012 Respectfully Submitted,
Approved: Victoria Trinko-town clerk