In an effort to address traffic impact and road wear from local frac sand operations, Assistant City Planner Carlos Espinosa is asking the City Planning Commission to discuss conducting traffic impact analyses that could trigger a road use agreement requirement for future operations.
Espinosa said the strategy would require project applicants to complete a study of traffic generation and assess whether or not haul routes can handle an increase in truck traffic. The study would research existing truck traffic numbers, future traffic forecasts, and intersection and sight distance reviews.
If any deficiencies were found, they would be addressed through a road use agreement. The agreement would require the applicant to rectify deficiencies prior to operations or establish financial accounts for future maintenance or improvements.
Espinosa said such amendments, if passed, would apply to any development with significant truck traffic and would only be imposed on future projects.
Commissioners are not expected to vote on the amendment language but could make a motion to direct city planning staff to draft an ordinance amendment for review at the next meeting.
City planning staff has completed two more sand site analyses stipulated by the moratorium study – a processing facility at Highway 14 and Goodview Road, and a processing facility at 25 McConnon Drive.
Espinosa is recommending that both sites draft and file a fugitive dust control plan and submit to sand moisture level testings.
Sand is briefly stockpiled at the Goodview Road site before it is transferred by truck to either the Port dock or the Gould Street rail facility. While the Goodview Road site conforms to appropriate performance standards, Espinosa said the facility should still test for moisture content.
The McConnon Drive site was approved by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in October 2011, but as of today, no construction for frac sand use has begun. It is proposed that washed and wet sand be stockpiled there before being conveyed inside a building for drying and screening. Once the sand is dried, it will be stored inside a building before it is conveyed into a covered railcar.
Neighbors of the McConnon Drive site have voiced concern about dust floating across property lines, prompting Espinosa to recommend that the operator create a fugitive dust plan. Similar to the Goodview Road site, Espinosa is recommending the McConnon Drive operator ensure the moisture content of the stockpiled sand by conducting moisture level testings.
Commissioners will discuss the recommendations, and if they approve, they will be compiled into a final list to be reviewed at the end of the one-year moratorium.
The city planning staff has now completed eight site analyses.
The Planning Commission meeting will be Monday at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.
Roundtable discussion confirmed
According to the Planning Commission agenda, a roundtable discussion will take place Wednesday.
The discussion is an opportunity for the public and commissioners to discuss all the recommendations that have been approved during the moratorium study.
“It’s been a few months now and we’ve taken a look at a lot of things,” Espinosa said. “It would be nice to get everything down on a couple pages and see what we’ve done.”
The roundtable discussion will be Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in the Wenonah Room at City Hall.