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Conditional use permit OK'd for 24-hour rock crushing for short-term mining work in Roseville

WILLMAR -- A conditional use permit was approved Monday that will allow a construction company to mine, crush and wash aggregate for 24 hours a day, five days a week, at a site in Roseville Township.

The permit also allows Knife River, a Montana Dakota Utilities Resources Company, to operate a hot asphalt plant there from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Saturday hours for both operations will be shorter.

They requested and received a six-month permit but will not be there for that duration.

The company intends to set up the crushing equipment in July and the asphalt equipment will be set up in September for work on state Highway 23.

Their work could be done in a couple weeks.

Members of the Kandiyohi County Planning Commission were concerned about the request to operate a crusher for 24 hours a day and the effect it would have on neighboring residents.

Holly Brisk, an environmental assistant with Knife River, said if the company is allowed to work long days it will be able to finish the work sooner. The crushing could be completed in about 14 days.

"The longer we work the sooner we're out of there," said Brisk. "We like to get in and we like to get out."

Gwynne Anderson, a member of the planning board, said people using Highway 23 might appreciate fewer days of a detour, but area residents would likely not appreciate the non-stop activity at the pit.

Harlan Madsen, a member of the planning board and a county commissioner, said common complaints about night-time operations are about the audible warning signal when construction vehicles back up.

The "beep, beep, beep" is what people don't like to hear late at night, said Madsen.

As one of the conditions, the commission agreed that the company should use strobe lights instead of the audible signals from sunset to sunrise, as allowed under state law.

An eight-foot burm that will be built around the 25.64-acre site will also help reduce noise, said Brisk.

There were concerns from area residents about the number of trucks, water usage and dust.

Ray Vrolson asked if vibrations from the crusher could compromise the integrity of his home's foundation and if area wells could be run dry because of the mining operation.

Dan Ranweiler, the asphalt plant equipment manager for Knife River, said they intend to create a lined pool in the pit that will hold about 15,000 gallons of water that will be used and re-used during the washing process. He said the company will not mine below the water table.

Regarding the number of trucks, Ranweiler said about 25 trucks an hour would pass through, carrying hot asphalt.

Claire Mathers McLouth asked if the company had all the proper environmental permits. Citing examples of 2003 mining permits approved in Kandiyohi County, McLouth asked if Knife River was being held to the same standards as other companies who'd received conditional use permits for gravel pits in the past.

Gary Geer, zoning administrator, said those previous permits involved long-term gravel pits whereas this project was for a six-month permit. He said the county has flexibility and is not required to apply the same conditions, like hours of operation, for a short-term pit as a long-term operation.

Brisk said once the highway project is completed, the company will restore the top-soil to the site so it can be used for production farm land.

The planning commission also approved a five-month conditional use permit for Mathiowetz Construction Company to operate a borrow pit in Roseville Township for a project to replace a box culvert on County Road 39. They intend to excavate 50,000 cubic yards of clay material.

The final plat for the Donner Addition First Addition was also approved.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750