It has been six months since the Winona Board of Adjustment granted CD Corp. a conditional use permit (CUP) to load and ship frac sand at the new $1.4 million commercial dock. Next Wednesday, Dan Nisbit, owner of CD Corp., will request an amendment to his CUP to increase the number of barges his company can load from 24 to 48 barges per month, and lower the required sand moisture content from 4 percent to 1.5 percent.
In May, the board initially approved the CUP to allow CD Corp. to load an average of one barge per day, not to exceed 24 barges in one month. In return, CD Corp. was to cut the number of trucks moving commodities to the new dock from 180 to 60, a nearly 75 percent decrease.
However, shortly after the CUP was granted, a local group concerned about silica sand mining appealed the boardís decision when it was brought to the City Council. Mayor Jerry Miller then placed even more restrictive measures on the portís leaseholder. Miller required CD Corp. to keep sand loaded at the dock at a moisture level of at least 4 percent, an amount two and a half times the Minnesota Pollution Control Agencyís recommended level. After the added restrictions were handed down, Nisbit said he was interested in speaking with city officials to come to an agreement, and even mentioned the possibility of a lawsuit.
As the portís shipping season is coming to a close, it is unclear if the proposed changes could be implemented immediately or take effect next season. Nisbit was unavailable for comment as this issue was going to press.
The CUP variance request will be presented during a public hearing set for Wednesday, December 5, at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall.