The city of Winona is considering a draft ordinance that would require traffic studies for all new frac sand facilities and new mines of any kind. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing before considering the proposed regulations on Monday.
The proposed rules would require a Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) for all new mines, regardless of what substance would be mined, and all new frac sand processing and transporting facilities. It would not apply to existing mines and frac sand facilities, unless their operations expand beyond current permits.
The draft ordinance also makes changes to the existing TIA requirements in city code, which call for a TIA for any facility that creates over 200 one-way truck trips per day or for facilities that cause the traffic on local streets to be more than 20 percent heavy trucks. If the draft ordinance is passed, that requirement would still stand, but new language would spell out that the city could request that the 200 truck trip and 20 percent threshold be applied to facilities outside of the city.
The city would have to ask the governments in other localities to adopt Winona’s threshold TIA requirement as they permit new facilities under their jurisdiction. “We could still make that request regardless of whether it is in the code,” Assistant City Planner Carlos Espinosa said, but the language specifies that as an option.
When asked whether he thought other governments would be likely to impose restrictions on development in their area at the city of Winona’s request, Espinosa said, “We can make the request. That’s where we have to leave it.”
Staff drafted the ordinance at the request of City Council last month. If the Planning Commission approves the ordinance, it will go before council for final approval.
Regardless of what happens to the draft ordinance, city code will still allow the City Engineer to waive any TIA requirement.
TIA’s examine the effect of traffic on congestion, the condition of roadways, and the quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods.
The public hearing and Planning Commission meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 8 at City Hall. This meeting is open to the public.