Red Wing City Council advances silica sand restrictionsArea News
-- The Red Wing City Council moved forward with silica sand mining regulations at its meeting Monday. Members unanimously introduced zoning code amendments that address silica sand mining, processing and transportation.
By: Danielle Nordine , Pierce County Herald
RED WING, Minn. -- The Red Wing City Council moved forward with silica sand mining regulations at its meeting Monday. Members unanimously introduced zoning code amendments that address silica sand mining, processing and transportation.
The council must vote again to finalize the changes.
The amendments stemmed from a report and recommendations developed jointly by the city’s Sustainability and Planning commissions for months.
Those recommendations include limiting silica sand mining to only the agriculture and I-2 (industrial) zoning districts, prohibiting mining in the city’s open space priority areas and developing special provisions for mines, processing sites and barge, truck and rail terminals used to transport silica sand.
Requirements would include air quality reports and monitoring, dust mitigation plans, emergency plans, public buffer plans and more.
The recommendations also included collaborating with Goodhue County and townships around Red Wing, “so we don’t have pockets of widely different regulatory framework,” Planning Director Brian Peterson said.
The aim also was to put stricter conditions in place first, because it’s easier to loosen them later rather than make them more stringent, Council member Peggy Rehder noted.
“I think everybody’s been clear that this ordinance is a starting point,” Rehder added. “But we are under the gun in terms of when the moratorium ends.”
There was a tight time table as the city worked to get initial regulations in place before the moratorium expires Oct. 28. The city does not have the option to extend it.
The council will discuss the proposed changes again at special meeting at 8 a.m. Monday Oct. 1 in the City Hall council chambers.
That vote would be the final adoption, unless substantive changes are made to the ordinance amendments from the version approved Monday.
Council member Mike Schultz said he wanted more opportunity for the Harbor Commission and Port Authority to review the recommendations, particularly the ones involving transporting silica sand.
“It feels to me the process hasn’t really played out here on this recommendation,” he said.
But others, including Council President Ralph Rauterkus and Rehder, noted there were public hearings on the recommendations, including one last week, and plenty of time for input.
“This shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody,” Rauterkus said.
Schultz encouraged port and Harbor Commission members to bring forward any concerns.