County board: No EIS required for Rein quarry
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 4:41 AM
The Reilly Construction-operated Rein Quarry is looking to expand their sand mine to 50 acres. This expansion was over the 40-acre threshold that required the completion of an EAW. The EAW was completed on Jan. 10 and published in the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board's Monitor on Jan. 21. Comments were then fielded from citizens and government agencies alike until Feb. 20. The county received 12 messages from the public and six of those were from state and local government agencies. The county then generated responses to those comments. Originally, the county had planned on making a decision regarding whether or not to require an EIS on April 2, but postponed it in order to complete the findings of fact.
Graves said that an EIS is required if the mining site is 160 acres or more. He shared additional facts on the mine, saying that the Rein operations hadn't used chemicals or washed the sand on location. Currently, the primary purpose of the mine is to provide for cattle bedding. It was noted that the Rein site would not be allowed to wash or process sand on-site. The expansion and future operation of the mine would occur in 10-acre phases. With the county's Section 736, which outlines the regulations for all silica sand mining and processing operations, the mine could have up to 25 acres open at one time. The other 25 acres would need to be reclaimed.
It was found that there will be approximately 100 feet from the bottom of the quarry to the high water table. It was also determined that the quarry expansion would not affect any of the nearby creeks. Water-retention berms to control runoff and filter water would be used during mining operations. The EAW review also determined that there were no sensitive features at the mining site to be concerned about.
Commissioner Duane Bakke addressed the concerns relating to damaging of public roads. Sand being trucked from the Rein site would be going to Winona. "They won't be going through Lanesboro at all," he said. Noise from the operation of excavation equipment will be reduced by silent or white-noise back-up alarms. Times of operation were also set to 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, during Central Daylight Time; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, during Central Standard Time; and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mining will not take place on federal holidays or on Sundays. Thus far, it was reported that Fillmore County had not received one complaint pertaining to noise. Bakke mentioned that additional restrictions and regulations can be added on to future conditional use permits.
The board passed a negative declaration for requiring an EIS for the Rein mine site. Commissioner Thomas Kaase shared, "It has been a fact-gathering process. There has been a lot more oversight than people realize." He also mentioned that the Reins have always had a compliant operation. "They are not only looking out for themselves, but also for the people of Fillmore County," shared Kaase.
The board also gave a negative declaration in considering the need for an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Old Barn resort expansion, which would add 108 additional campsites with full hookups. The campsites will be located north of the present campground and south of the driving range. In addition, a small berm will be built downstream of the new campsite, which will allow storm water to be filtered more into the soil surrounding it. The EAW completed for the proposal yielded three public comments. The board did not find anything that would necessitate an EIS.
County board Chairperson Randy Dahl reminded the public in attendance at the meeting that the time had passed for their comments to be heard concerning the EIS. Public input, he stressed, would only be allowed at that meeting to address other issues.
Rita LeDuc asked if the county kept a current database or listing on sinkholes, springs and seeps. She said the county is looking at updating its water management plan.
Bakke explained that there are rules for the number of feet which a field must be set back away from these land features, but that the county doesn't have a comprehensive list of those feature and how they should be dealt with.
In other matters, Sheriff Daryl Jensen shared the completed request for proposal for a new integrated computer aided dispatch, records management system and jail management system. Jensen explained that this proposal had been three years in the making when the sheriff's office was first looking at web-based management systems. "It's time to move forward," said Jensen. The request for proposals, he shared, is just a product that will help the county receive proposals and cost estimates for possible systems. He mentioned Winona, Houston, and Mower counties are at a certain stage in the process to switch over their management systems to web-based.
Brenda Pohlman from Community Services presented information on the county's participation in the statewide "Toward Zero Death" campaign to reduce fatalities from vehicular accidents. She said the campaign focuses on aspects of engineering, education, emergency response and enforcement. She reported that Fillmore County is ranked last for fatalities and injuries resulting from distracted driving. The county is also ranked 86 for the number of vehicle miles traveled. These statistics were based off of studies done from 2008 through 2010.
Community Services director Beth Wilms shared comments relating to the state omnibus spending bill, which showed funding for the Vulnerable Children and Adults Act being frozen for 2013 at the 2012 rate. Wilms said the county will take a loss from this, but that conversation will continue concerning this.
The county's child protection team was presented to the board during an update on the team's activities. Social Services supervisor Wendy Ebner shared, "We are lucky we have a working relationship with the county." She said that the number of cases hasn't increased, but the workload and documentation needed for each case has increased. The team has been seeing, according to Ebner, more cases involving drugs.
Sheriff Jensen gave credit to the team saying, "This is a difficult job they have to do."
The board approved the aggregate rock bids for nine county roads as well as an additional per ton charge for loading rock from the stockpile.
The next county board meeting will be May 7 at 9 a.m. in the county board room.