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|Paynesville Press - October 26, 2005|
Kandiyohi County denies demolition landfill
The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners voted last week to deny a conditional-use permit for a Class I demolition landfill in Roseville Township.|
The proposed landfill would have been located at the site of a current gravel pit on Co. Rd. 2, a half mile north of Highway 23, a mile northwest of Hawick, and a mile northeast of Long Lake.
The landfill, proposed by JMBI, LLC., had been opposed by the Roseville Township Board of Supervisors, which held a special meeting on Thursday, Oct. 6, on this issue, and had been approved by the Kandiyohi County Planning Commission on Monday, Oct. 10.
The matter of a conditional-use permit, along with the planning commission's recommendation to approve, came before the county commissioners on Tuesday, Oct. 18. The board took testimony on the matter for 25 minutes and then discussed the matter for 25 minutes before voting to deny the permit.
Getting the county approval was just the first step in a long process, attorney Mike Sullivan, representing JMBI, LLC., told the board. Additional study is needed, and the company is interested in complying with all requirements by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), which licenses and oversees landfills in the state.
"What we have attempted to do is to be as upfront and forthcoming as we could possible be," said Sullivan.
A Class I demolition landfill is a permitted use in A-2 zoning in the county, zoning administrator Gary Geer told the commissioners.
A Class I demolition landfill, if approved, could accept the following waste, according to the MPCA: bituminous concrete, concrete, stone, masonry, untreated wood, siding, wall coverings, electrical wiring and components, roofing materials, duct work, sheetrock, built-in cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, carpetings, pipes, glass, insulation, etc.
Neighboring landowners raised a number of concerns, chiefly regarding possible pollution to groundwater. A wetland is located just across Co. Rd. 2 from the site and this wetland flooded over the road as recently as 1986.
Furthermore, the area has sandy soils and a shallow aquifer. The north shore of Long Lake is less than a mile from the proposed site, now a gravel pit.
The risk of groundwater pollution in the aquifer and in Long Lake is very great, said neighboring land owner Allan Eblen, while the rewards to the county of the proposed landfill would be minimal. "The question for the county commissioners is what's in it for Kandiyohi County," he said.
Concerned citizens had already completed and mailed a petition for an Environmental Assessment Worksheet about the proposed landfill, Eblen said, but the county could stop the proposal "right here, right now."
Another concern from the dozens of opponents to the proposal at the county board meeting was that this landfill would be next to the Roseville Cemetery.
Sullivan estimated that this was just the first step among dozens needed by the MPCA for approval. The planning commission had come to a similar conclusion, letting the MPCA consider the issue of pollution and then recommending approval of the conditional-use permit with four conditions.
"The question I see resounding is the possibility of groundwater contamination," said county commissioner Harlan Madsen, who represents the eastern and southern portions of the county and said he normally advocates for business and property rights.
Asking the county to approve the conditional-use permit without knowing more about possible pollution, put the cart before the horse, he said. "More than premature," he explained, "I think it's asinine that we're asked to make decisions without knowing the facts."
County commissioner Dennis Peterson, who represents the northern portion of Kandiyohi County, including Roseville Township, said he had yet to talk to anyone in Roseville Township who is in favor of the landfill. Its closeness to aquifer and its closeness to Long Lake, especially with sandy soil, meant he could not support it, he said.
Board chairman Richard Falk, who represents Willmar, said he was concerned by a lack of a reclamation plan and by the limited liability that a corporation would have if something would ever go wrong.
County commissioner Richard Larson, who also represents Willmar, made a motion to approve the conditional-use permit, but this motion was voted down 4-1 with Falk, Madsen, Peterson, and county commissioner Dean Shuck voting against it. A subsequent motion to deny the conditional-use permit, citing the potential for groundwater pollution in the aquifer and in Long Lake, passed 4-1 with Falk, Madsen, Peterson, and Shuck voting for it and Larson voting against it.
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