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  Wednesday April 23rd, 2014    

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Winona planners to discuss sand dust, student parking (10/13/2013)
By Chris Rogers

On Monday the Winona Planning Commission will discuss two familiar topics: an ordinance amendment on parking restrictions and air quality monitoring for frac sand dust and diesel fumes.

The parking rule change is described by city staff as a housekeeping amendment as was originally attached to changes for the small zoning district surrounding the downtown condo. However, the change would substantively alter parking requirements across the city. The changes would reduce the number of parking spaces required for student rentals and other sites, but require that parking be located on-site, not 300 feet away, as is currently allowed.

The council considered the so-called housekeeping amendment and indefinitely delayed it following concerns about its impact across the city and Winona Post reports about the amendment’s reduction of student rental parking space requirements. At a recent meeting, Planning Commission members asked what happened to the amendment. After that inquiry, staff are brining the proposal back “to determine what can be done to move the proposed amendments forward.”

Frac sand dust monitoring

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is still in the earliest stages of a lengthy rule-making process for frac sand dust. However, the agency is willing to assist the city with monitoring efforts, if they choose to enact them.

Since the council called for its consideration in early March, the concept of monitoring air quality at frac sand sites has been in and out of city committees. One city committee recommended immediate monitoring in June. The Planning Commission twice delayed a vote to recommend approval or denial of the monitoring proposal. For the last two months, city staff have sought to schedule a meeting between an MPCA representative and the commission. Staff said it expected the meeting to be this month.

That meeting was not scheduled as of last week, but the MPCA provided a written response to city inquiries, indicating that rule-making for frac sand dust was still in its infancy but that the MPCA would be willing to assist the city with monitoring effort should it chose to enact them. 

 

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