As space at rail car storage facilities in Winona fills, the threat of added trucks hitting city streets could be a not too distant reality. At the City Planning Commission meeting on Monday, Assistant City Planner Carlos Espinosa said to alleviate future road wear the city could require operations that will generate extra truck traffic in Winona to submit to a traffic impact analysis (TIA), and possibly a road use agreement.
During the City Planning Commission meeting, Espinosa sought input on threshold levels for requiring an initial TIA and in a 7-1 vote, commissioners decided 100 new trucks per day, per new operation, would trigger an analysis.
“We’re not putting a cap on the amount of truck traffic a new operation can generate,” Espinosa said. “We are saying that any traffic above this number would require us to get more information from the operation.”
The plan Espinosa is recommending would require any future project applicant to complete a study of traffic generation and assess whether or not designated haul routes would be able to handle the increase in truck traffic.
If the threshold is breached or any deficiencies are found during the analysis, the operation would address the issues through a road use agreement. The agreement would force the operation to rectify any problems prior to starting up, or to establish financial accounts for future improvements.
“Because we are working with a city code from 1960, ours just doesn’t have the necessary requirements for a TIA,” Espinosa said. “This has brought the issue to the forefront and gives us the opportunity to look at proposing regulations for all trucks.”
Espinosa said if the proposed ordinance is passed, it would apply to any new development and wouldn’t be limited to just frac sand trucks.
“Because the majority of the operations in Winona currently use less than 100 trucks per day, we are recommending this plan be targeted toward new companies that could be large truck traffic generators.”
Espinosa and City Planning Department staff will draft an ordinance amendment for commissioners to review at the next Planning Commission meeting on September 24.
Round table tonight
The first of two public round table discussions will take place tonight at City Hall so the public and City Planning Commission officials can discuss the recommendations that have been approved during the first five months of the one-year frac sand moratorium.
Assistant City Planner Carlos Espinosa will lead the informational discussion. The session is an opportunity for the public to hear a list of recommendations the Planning Commission and the city’s Planning Department have developed during their study of habitat and wetlands, air and water permitting, environmental review and traffic impact analyses.
The discussion is open to the public and will take place at 4:30 p.m. in the Wenonah Room of City Hall. Espinosa said if a larger audience attends, the meeting will be moved to Council Chambers.