This site is operated by a some residents living near Lake Marion who don’t want Midwest Asphalt to expand operations to 24×7 or, for that matter any longer than their current 12×6 schedule.
Regardless of whether you live nearby, use the lake for boating, swimming or fishing, or simply are concerned about the potential environmental impact, you should oppose this expansion in operating hours.
The Lake Marion Gravel Pit is a 66 acre site northeast of Kenrick Avenue and 195th Street in Lakeville, MN. The property has been owned by Ashbury Limited for several decade. Before they owned it it was mined. And they mined aggregate from it a few decades ago. As of ~1993 mining of the property went dormant.
In 2011, Midwest Asphalt applied for an Interim Use Permit (IUP) allowing them to resume mining operations. This permit was granted and is valid through 2021. It allowed 7am-7pm operations Monday through Saturday.
The expectation by the city of Lakeville is that upon mining all sellable aggregate material for the property, clean fill will be brought in to the property to reestablish a grade compatible with development of the property with a mix of single and multi-family homes.
Despite residents concerns over the operations, the pit operated from the Spring of 2011 with no formal complaints. Those living along the lake frequently complained about the noise of trucks jake braking when arriving at the property and of dump trucks banking their gates to clear their beds at 7am (or sometimes earlier).
Request to Mine 24×7
In August 2013, residents were notified that Midwest Asphalt and requested an amendment to their IUP allowing them to operate 24×7. Midwest Asphalt wanted the opportunity to participate in after hours project where they could either supply material to night time project or import fill for restoration from them. They said they were missing opportunities to move material that might allow them to complete rehabilitation of the mine sooner.
On 8/22/13, a large handful of residents attended the planning commission meeting where this IUP amendment was discussed. As far as we know, this was the first opportunity for discussion with the public. The meeting allowed for brief public comments, but was largely a discussion within the commission of whether to recommend the amendment. At the end of the evening they voted 4-to-2 to recommend the amendment to the city council.
It was expected that it would reviewed and voted on at city council’s 9/3 meeting.
Put On The Brakes
In the week or so following the planning commission’s recommendation, several residents voiced concerns over both the proposal as a whole and the speed with which it was being considered without any significant input/discussion with residents. On 8/28 at the city council’s work session, they decided it was worth getting resident input and tabled the 9/3 agenda item.
We were notified the next day that Midwest Asphalt would be holding a neighborhood meeting to discuss the proposal. The invite to this meeting arrived a week later. It was scheduled for 9/24.
23-25 residents attended. The planning department employees Daryl Morey and Frank Dempsey attended as did the consultant they were using to help the city work through the mining permit application process. The meeting was run by Blaire Bury. A Star Tribune reporter can (and later wrote a story). One city council member, Doug Anderson, attended but didn’t participate in discussions. He lives on the lake and so has added interest in this discussion beyond his position as a council member.
Outcome? Many residents upset with the city. Most indicated they felt as if the application process was being rushed, that 24×7 operations were simply ridiculous given proximity to residential neighborhoods, and that their concerns weren’t been heard and acted upon.
Mr. Morey set the expectation that the city council would take up the application/amendment at the 10/7 or 10/21 council meeting.
As of 10/3 the item was not on the 10/7 council meeting agenda. As of 10/4, some residents were notified by Mr. Dempsey with the following message:
I am forwarding to you the latest information on the request of Midwest Asphalt Corporation for an amendment to their Interim Use Permit to allow extended hours of operation. Mr. Bury of Midwest Asphalt Corporation has informed us that he will be requesting additional time to consider alternatives to his current application. He has indicated to us his intent to meet again in a month or so with the neighbors to discuss alternatives which may lessen the impacts to the area residents. Neighbors will receive a written invitation from Midwest Asphalt Corporation prior to the next neighborhood meeting. I will forward the invitation to you to distribute to your membership. At this point, we do not expect the item to come before the City Council until late November or December.
At this time, City staff is assembling information in response to questions raised by the neighbors regarding dust, noise and other health concerns. We will have additional information available by the next neighborhood meeting.
Another Neighborhood Meeting
After being told in October by the city that plans were on hold indefinitely, notices were send out around 11/15/2013 about another neighborhood meeting. This meeting is to be held on November 26th, two days before Thanksgiving when, most should be capable of realizing, many people will be out of town for Thanksgiving, or otherwise indisposed planning to leave or hosting family. One could imagine that this date was chosen specifically to ensure a lower turnout of residents than you might get the week before or after.
Specifics about the meeting can be found here.