Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Asphalt Plant adjacent to Van Peenen Park

I got a call last night at 7:40 Pm from Sarge about a public hearing going on at the court house. I had heard nothing about it before that call. He said it had something to do with the land next to the trails. So we met up at the courthouse to hear what this was all about. The current asphalt plant is located down on Montgomery Street and they would like to move it up into the quarry across the road form the park entrance that goes in between Dust Bowl and North 40 that leads up into the Prairie.

While both sides have there reasons, there were a lot of opinions flying around and statements from people on both sides. Mostly Hear Say. A Luther Professor presented quite a few pieces of paper showing studies of the pollutants and particulates produced from Asphalt production Plants. The Asphalt guys said "They did a study once that proved this and they did another study once that proved that and this plant is so efficient and new that it won't increase air pollution at all and we'll reduce traffic and you'll never know its there." There were accusations of lies on both sides, and only one person brought the facts to back their side of the story? Where is the proof that this asphalt plant is harmless? I'm not saying that the asphalt plant is or is not a good idea, but I hope the next approval requires a little more research before making a decision.

It seemed odd to me that
The Facts:
  1. The Zoning Commission took comments for an hour and a half from concerned citizens opposing the proposed Asphalt Plant location.
  2. Then they closed the public hearing.
  3. They moved the approval of the Asphalt plant from the first thing in the meeting to the end of the meeting.
  4. Many of the Public left.
  5. Zoning commission approves rezoning for the proposed Asphalt Plant location.

This is the Post from www.DecorahNews.com:

Positive recommendation goes to County Supervisors on asphalt plant
Posted: Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The Winneshiek County Planning Commission voted 4-2 Tuesday night in favor of recommending approval for a hot mix asphalt plant to be located in the Skyline Quarry at the intersection of Quarry Hill Road and Whitetail Road. The commission listened to comments for over an hour in a packed courtroom. The vast majority of an estimated 70 people in attendance were opposed to the proposal (based on a show of hands asked for by a concerned party).

Currently Bruening operates a hot mix plant off Montgomery Street in Decorah. Keith Bruening of Bruening Rock Products, as well as a representative from Mathy Construction of LaCrosse (operator of the new plant) attempted to counter claims of increased truck traffic and suggested that since the quarry already supplied rock for the hot mix, then mixing there would not increase traffic and would improve efficiency. They assured the audience of strict compliance with the DNR and EPA regulations. Bruening also mentioned the convenience, cost factor, and economic/employment impact of retaining such a facility in the county. The plan would include taking down the existing plant, and replacing it with a newer, more efficient and environmentally sensitive plant in the quarry.

Numerous concerns were expressed regarding health and safety issues: air quality, numerous health implications associated with the pollutants, run off concerns, problems caused by air inversion in the summer, and an especially dangerous and deteriorating roadway. Another concern was regarding the height of the emission stack, which may not even extend beyond the top layer of the quarry. Ken Eide, County Zoning Administrator, refuted claims regarding the questionable public notification process and said all had been done in accordance with established policy.

Ultimately the board voted 4-2 in favor of the conditional use approval, recommending that conditions include stack monitoring and run off monitoring at a minimum of twice per year. They acknowledged serious road problems and hoped that the county would address that concern. The consensus seemed to be that, in spite of the objections raised, their role was to recommend based on a list of criteria for conditional use permits (including items such as burden on the infrastructure, compatibility with existing properties, appearance, and county needs) and let the DNR and EPA be responsible for evaluating and monitoring health and environmental standards.

The recommendation will go to the County Board of Supervisors for action.

6 comments:

b said...

this thing was way more exciting when folks could post anonymously.

Spinner said...

You're not feelin' me b!

We had to remove the anonymous comments because people feel way too comfortable saying stupid stuff when no one is accountable for it. Most people disregard anonymous comments for that very reason. If you've got something to say worth saying, say it and let people know you said it.

Barrelroll said...

Good article in today's Decorah Newspaper regarding this issue. Reading between the lines, it appears the plant will be a go even though most everybody except the company is against it.

Take your rescue inhaler with you on the trails!!

Spinner said...

As it seems with most City Issues around here, I'm sure the deal was sealed by a hand shake under the table before the public heard anything about it. Just as a reference point: This asphalt plant is going to be built 50 yards to the right of the bike in the picture at the top of this Blog.

Barrelroll said...

Dekek says it's okay and if you haven't held a shovel on the trails you are NOT ALLOWED.

Barrelroll said...

So, I guess I'll just ride (and help) on Dana's Trails and he can ride his HIGH HORSE (I crack me up) over his little kingdom.