BUFFALO, MN – Should an Environmental Assessment Worksheet be required for a temporary hot mix asphalt plant on an existing gravel pit in Silver Creek Township?
That was the question before the Wright County Board of Commissioners Tuesday following a petition from neighboring property owners.
The answer will have to wait until at least Tuesday, June 11, when the board will allow 10 minutes each for the proponents and opponents of the project before making a decision.
Before the board voted to table the matter, Commissioner Charlie Borrell had made a motion to direct staff to draft a resolution declining an EAW and Commissioner Mike Potter had seconded it.
“I’m going to strongly urge the other commissioners to vote against this motion,” Chair Darek Vetsch said. “If we don’t do this EAW, we’re basically saying we won’t do EAWs on anything again. You guys are setting yourselves up for a dangerous precedence. I want (Interstate) 94 to get done as much as anyone else, but there is a process we have to go through. People have been here way longer than the proposed asphalt plant. They’ve spent a great deal of time collecting names and getting information. They’re not killing the project, they just want to know they’re being found safe in the process.”
“In places like this, we get people (who say) ‘Not in my backyard,’ but they’re the same people who say, ‘We want the roads fixed,’” Potter said. “When prices come in high, (they say), ‘Oh my god, why are you spending so much money on these roads? They’re going to have to be somewhere. The farther away, the more expensive they are.”
Vetch suggested that the plant could be moved “a mile in a lot of different directions, and you would impact a far, far less amount of individual residential housing.”
Before commissioners Christine Husom and Mark Daleiden could chime in, Potter called to question, forcing a vote.
Husom and Daleiden abstained, citing a need for more information, which caused the motion to fail for lack of a majority.
“We’ve heard from a number of the citizens in the area and they are concerned,” Husom said.
Petition regarding bonds
“Today was the day we were to reward the sale of 2019A and 2019B bonds,” Auditor/Treasurer Bob Hiivala said, referring to $60 million in bonds for a government center and tactical training center. “A petition was filed with my office. We are still validating that petition. We’ve postponed the sale of those bonds . . . I have no update other than we are working on it.”
Hiivala noted there are more than 700 pages his staff are reviewing to make sure that all signatures came from Wright County voters, and that no one signed it more than once.
In a related matter, the board scheduled a workshop to take place following the board meeting in order to discuss the next steps to take with the county’s bond counsel.
For more coverage, see the June 7 edition of the Delano Herald Journal.