East Grand Forks City Council discusses potential conditions within special-use permit for asphalt plant
The potential conditions could include the months the plant would be allowed to operate, the hours of operation, the regulations on air emissions and dust, along with other city code requirements the plant must meet.
EAST GRAND FORKS – Possible conditions for a special-use permit needed for the construction and operation of a hot mix asphalt plant in East Grand Forks were discussed Tuesday by City Council members during a work session meeting.
Last week, council members agreed that further discussion was needed on the conditions that could be set in a special-use permit for an asphalt plant proposed by RJ Zavoral & Sons.
Some of the conditions include the months the plant would be allowed to operate, the hours of operation, the regulations on air emissions and dust, along with other city code requirements the plant must meet.
For dust control, some of the possible restrictions that could be placed within the permit include not allowing crushing on the plant site, which was not part of the application, and ensuring aggregate piles kept on site are monitored to prevent dust.
As the property has now been annexed into the city, the gravel road leading to the plant will be paved to prevent dust from the truck traffic to and from the plant. However, the timeline of that road being paved could be up to five years.
When discussing the possible restrictions on the hours and months the plant can operate due to noise, it was mentioned that any restrictions made within the permit should be reasonable and similar to other industries and businesses in the area.
The plant will be regulated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for air emissions. If the plant violates regulations set in place by those agencies, the city would give the plant a stop-work order, requiring the plant to comply with those regulations before being able to continue work.
What can’t be limited is the length of the special-use permit. If the council wanted to limit the length of the permit, an interim permit would need to be requested.
During a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on April 14, some residents suggested RJ Zavoral & Sons receive a permit that would be in effect for one year to answer some of the unknowns about the noise and odor the plant may produce.
During Tuesday’s meeting, council member Clarence Vetter said he agrees that limiting the length of the permit would provide those answers to residents. While Vetter said he isn’t opposed to the plant, he feels the conditions the council can set within the special-use permit won’t be enough to alleviate the fears people have.
“I’m back to it has to be conditional use for three to five years and after that time, after they’ve ran it for three to five years, I am positive that the fears that are out there now are going to be alleviated,” Vetter said.
The council will discuss what conditions they would like to include in the permit and make a vote on the permit next week.
Also Tuesday, council members received an update on the recreation facilities improvements and a proposed 20-year, 1.25% citywide sales tax . Parks and Recreation Superintendent Reid Huttunen informed council members that state Sen. Mark Johnson presented the sales tax request to the Senate Tax Committee on April 21 and the sales tax has since been rolled over for consideration in the Senate Tax Bill.
If given the OK by legislators, the sales tax would return to East Grand Forks for a citywide vote in the fall. If approved, the sales tax will help pay for upgrades and renovations to the city-owned VFW Memorial Arena, the East Grand Forks Civic Center and Itts Williams Park, with the total recreation improvements project estimated to cost $29.7 million.