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East Grand Forks City Council will have further discussion on proposed asphalt plant

Council members agreed that more discussion is needed.

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East Grand Forks City Hall. Herald file photo.
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EAST GRAND FORKS – East Grand Forks City Council members on Tuesday voted 5-0 to have further discussion on a special use permit for a planned asphalt plant on the edge of town.

Marc DeMers abstained from the vote and Mark Olstad was absent from the meeting.

The proposed plant would be owned and operated by RJ Zavoral & Sons, a local earth-moving and construction services company, and would be built on recently annexed land adjacent to the city’s border with Huntsville Township.

While the council was set Tuesday to either approve or deny the special use permit needed to build the hot-mix asphalt plant, council members agreed that more discussion is needed in regard to the permit and the restrictions the council can set within the permit.

Some of those restrictions can include the hours the plant would operate, how many months out of the year the plant would be in operation, the levels of compliance the company must meet and how much the company would be required to monitor dust.

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At present, RJ Zavoral & Sons plans to operate the proposed plant from mid May to October and any other time the company would be making the asphalt product.

Tuesday’s meeting also was a chance for residents to share their thoughts on the plant. Several residents have concerns about potential health hazards, traffic, noise and odor.

Laura Raymond shared her concerns on the amount of chemicals found in asphalt.

While the plant will be regulated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there are concerns about how regulated the plant will be when it comes to emissions.

“It’s going to be a problem and people with respiratory problems, people that have small children, people that have any kind of health issues, on the days that they are running, it could be a real definite hazard for them,” Raymond said.

Many residents that spoke brought up their concerns about the plant's effects on their children. One resident, Jamie Lund, said as a father to two children, he is concerned for their health if the plant is built.

“They’re going to be breathing all of this stuff in,” he said.

Along with health concerns, some are worried about the potential increases in traffic. One resident said the amount of traffic on Highway 2 and County Road 17 is already heavy, especially during beet harvest season.

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“I don’t know how many times myself and my family have come upon accidents and I guarantee you someone will die and you guys will be sued,” the resident said.

City Planner Nancy Ellis told council members that she has checked with the county and state engineers, asking whether the roads would be able to handle the amount of truck traffic. She said no concerns have arisen.

Ellis said the highest traffic level is estimated to be one truck every two minutes. A daily traffic average from the proposed plant is estimated to be a little over 600 trucks

Further discussion about the special use permit will come at next Tuesday’s work session meeting.

READ MORE EAST GRAND FORKS CITY COUNCIL NEWS

In other council news Tuesday:

  • Council members voted 5-1 to purchase a parcel of land that is approximately 64 acres, for a total price of $707,840. The land will be used for the construction of a potential intercity bridge connecting Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. Council member Dale Helms dissented.
  • Council members approved awarding annual sewer cleaning to Pipe Detectives Inc. for a total of $47,251.46, which was the lowest bid of the three bids received. Public works is scheduled to clean the northeast end of town and other trouble areas in the city this year. Funds in the city’s Sewage Enterprise Fund will pay for the project.
Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 719-235-8640 or MArbegast@gfherald.com.

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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