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New city amendment closer to public hearing (10/10/2012)
By Emily Buss

The Winona City Planning Commission is one step closer to solidifying a plan to address future effects and road wear on local streets that handle high volumes of truck traffic.

Commissioners voted to recommend that all future developments, not limited to frac sand, submit a traffic impact analysis (TIA). The analysis would identify all roads to be used from the project site to the nearest designated truck routes.

New operations would be held to 200 truck trips per day maximum. If the limit is exvceeded, or any other discrepancies are found, the operation must then enter into a road use agreement. The road use agreement requires the operation to pay for upgrading all roads to be used.

The decision to eliminate designated truck routes from the TIA was made after local industry owner Rich Mikrut and several commissioners expressed concerns about fairness during last month’s meeting.

“I can see if you are running a truck on a designated residential street then yes, the operator should be responsible,” Mikrut said. “But I think if you are making operators responsible for cumulative effects on truck routes you are opening a dangerous doorway.”

Commissioner Laverne Olson said he was still concerned that the proposed traffic impact amendment too restrictive and would have a negative impact on business.

“We want trucks to come to the city,” he said. “Manufacturing businesses cannot operate without trucks hauling their products. If we set up too many rules, we might be sending a negative message to present and any future businesses that might consider coming to Winona.”

Assistant City Planner Carlos Espinosa said the TIA is only the first step to creating safer industrial areas in the city and isn’t a means to slow or stop an operation from progressing.

Espinosa said he would add the amended language to the traffic impact amendment, which will be available for a final commission review at the next meeting. Once the commission has approved them, all recommendations will be included in a draft report. Following a public hearing on the draft, it will be sent to the City Council at the end of November for final approval. 

 

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