The Winona City Planning Commission's recommendations, following its comprehensive study of the frac sand industry, are up for final approval once again at tomorrow night's meeting. The draft has been sent back several times at the request of citizens who said the study wasn't complete. Assistant City Planner Carlos Espinosa has elaborated on air quality and impact on roads and is presenting the draft once again.
The first action item is related to the city's mining ordinance, which has been drafted to mirror the county's current ordinance. The first change Espinosa is proposing under the mining ordinance is that air quality monitoring at sand sites not be required; rather that concerns with air quality would be addressed by the proposed moisture testing requirements. The second change would allow sand operations to utilize as many trucks as needed, but would require that an operation that has the potential to generate more than 200 truck trips per day submit a traffic impact analysis.
Commissioners will also consider approval of language in the moisture testing ordinance. The ordinance would require moisture testing of all sand or other materials that have the potential to produce particulate matter emissions. At the recommendation of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Espinosa is proposing that moisture levels consistently be at or above 1.5 percent.
The third action item relates to the existing sand processing and transportation CUP amendment. Espinosa is recommending language be added to the CUP that requires "all structures housing processing equipment and stockpiles" be a minimum of 200 feet from any residential property.
The fourth action item commissioners will examine is related to road wear. The commission will discuss approving language that defines a heavy commercial vehicle as one weighing more than 33,000 lbs. (rather than 26,000 lbs. as previously defined). The scope of the traffic impact analysis is also changed to apply to any road, other than a designated truck route, that is used between the operation and nearest truck route.
The commissioners will vote to approve or deny any or all parts of the proposed draft changes. If the Planning Commission approves all of the changes, the final draft will be brought to a public hearing tentatively set for December. After the public hearing, the draft will go to the Winona City Council for final approval.
The Planning Commission meeting will be Monday at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers of City Hall.