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Complaints lead Granite Falls to regulate hot mix operations

GRANITE FALLS -- Complaints by citizens about emissions from a hot mix plant operated within the city limits have led city council members in Granite Falls to consider an ordinance to regulate the activity.

City Council members on Monday approved the first reading of an ordinance. It will require a conditional use permit to operate a hot mix plant within the city limits, and it sets limitations on their operations, according to City Manager Bill Lavin.

Council members took the action after residents complained about odors and emissions from a Central Paving Specialties hot mix plant that operated earlier this season in the Martin Marietta quarry on the city's west side.

Lavin said the ordinance is modeled after similar ordinances used by both Chippewa and Yellow Medicine counties to regulate hot mix plant operations.

In other matters Monday, council members approved a request by Michelle Vavrika to allow for closing a portion of Seventh Avenue when outdoor movies are shown.

Vavrika asked for permission to close a half-block area near the Kiwanis popcorn stand downtown during the summer months.

She plans to offer free, outdoor movies for those interested in bringing a chair and enjoying the riverside setting.

Council members also agreed to review the city's mosquito spraying program after hearing concerns about it. Derek Hall told council members about his concerns about the city-wide spraying of insecticide.

The city currently sprays residential areas every other Wednesday evening with an insecticide, and places briquettes of larvacide at storm drains and other sites.

The summer-long campaign to reduce mosquito numbers was launched due to concerns that the insects can spread West Nile and other viral diseases, according to Lavin.

In previous years the city sprayed once a week for mosquitoes, but budget cuts led to the reduction to every other week.

Budget concerns also led the city to discontinue the distribution of a brochure describing the mosquito control program and offering information on what residents can do to reduce the pools of water needed by mosquito larvae.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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