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  Monday January 26th, 2015    

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Traffic ordinance studied at City Hall (10/07/2012)
By Emily Buss
In an effort to tweak their own draft traffic impact amendment, which commissioners sent back to the drawing board last month, the Winona City Planning Commission will compare traffic ordinances of neighboring counties and cities during tomorrow’s meeting.

Since mid August, the commission and city planning staff have been researching traffic impact and road wear issues as part of the moratorium study, but have yet to decide on a draft ordinance that clearly sets parameters.

Chair Craig Porter questioned the current draft ordinance, which is based on what Olmsted County recently passed.

“Winona is unlike other cities in the fact that we truck to the Port,” he said. “Our trucks have to get to the river and in order to do that we have to move past people.”

Porter said the commission would move forward with a draft ordinance amendment once they see what cities similar to Winona are doing to alleviate truck traffic issues.

At the request of the commission, Winona City Planner Mark Moeller has compiled a list of cities and counties in the area that are either talking about introducing a traffic impact ordinance or already have one on the books.

Most recently, the city of Red Wing adopted several code changes to address silica sand operations, passing an amendment similar the one proposed by Winona planning staff. Red Wing’s ordinance requires a traffic impact analysis (TIA) every time a proposed or amended conditional use permit (CUP) is requested. If the TIA results in a negative finding, the city has the power to decide whether or not a road use agreement is necessary.

As it stands now, the draft ordinance proposed in Winona would require any future applicant for an operation to conduct a TIA if that operation has the potential for 200 or more new heavy truck trips per day into the city.  If the TIA shows the operation has the potential to surpass the 200-truck threshold, or uncovers any discrepancies, a road use agreement would then be required.

The potential for a road use agreement worried local industry owner Rich Mikrut, who said local operators should not have to fund upgrades or repairs on roads designed to handle high volumes of truck traffic.

The commission will talk about whether the proposed ordinance would pertain to only new silica sand operations or all future developments. They will have the opportunity to revise the draft for final review later this month, amend the draft further, or decline to proceed with the ordinance, which would mean future sand operations would apply for a CUP.

The next City Planning Commission meeting is Monday at 4:30 p.m. in Winona City Council Chambers at City Hall. 


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