A new proposal would give city of Winona leaders more of a legal basis to deny, or impose conditions on, applications for development in the city. Addressing the impact of frac sand facilities on neighborhoods, roads, and the environment appears to be the primary aim of the proposal, which city staff members say is an outgrowth of the 2012 frac sand moratorium and study. However, the additional requirements would apply to all conditional use permit (CUP) applications in the city, including those for residential and commercial developments.
Under the proposal, the Board of Adjustment would consider whether the project outlined in a CUP application would place an undue burden on public infrastructure, including roads and parks, and whether it would unfairly detract from the character of neighborhoods, reduce property values, damage the environment, or hinder future development potential. Several other cities across the state employ similar CUP requirements.
Assistant City Planner Carlos Espinosa said that bringing forward the proposal has been on his to-do list since the frac sand ordinance was adopted a year ago, but that he and the Planning Commission have been busy with other work, such as considering air quality monitoring standards for frac sand facilities. Espinosa said that he is not aware of any pending CUP applications and that upcoming development proposals did not spur the suggested changes.
The Planning Commission will consider recommending the changes to the City Council on Monday at 4:30 p.m. at city hall.