Wright County Board Minutes

WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
APRIL 14, 2015
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Sawatzke, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
Borrell moved to approve the 4-07-15 County Board Minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Items For Consideration, “Letter from Department of Human Services RE: HHS Department 2014 Financial Reporting Requirements” (Borrell). Husom moved to approve the Agenda with the addition of one item, seconded by Daleiden, carried 5-0.
Borrell referenced a letter received from the Minnesota Department of Human Services commending the County Board and staff for perfect performance in meeting DHS Human Service financial reporting requirements for 2014, and congratulating management and staff for what was described as a superb effort. All key quarterly fiscal reports for programs were submitted to the State’s Financial Operations Division on or before the report deadlines and in perfect order. The letter further acknowledges the planning, efficiency, and teamwork within the Human Services Department resulting in timely revenue for the County and compliance with federal reporting at the State. County Board members extended congratulations to Health & Human Services staff members.
On a motion by Husom, second by Daleiden, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
A. ADMINISTRATION
Authorize Signatures On Memorandum Of Agreement With I.U.O.E., Local 49, Four 10-Hour Days In A Workweek, Effective 2014-2016
B. ADMINISTRATION
Authorize Signatures On Memorandum Of Agreement With I.U.O.E., Local 49, RE: County Fair Volunteer Work
C. ASSESSOR
Approve Abatement, PID 118-033-001030, Chester Holm (City of Otsego)
D. AUDITOR/TREASURER
Approve Renewal of 2015 Tobacco License for: City of St. Michael: Fox Hollow Golf Club
E. EXTENSION
Approve Commissioner Husom’s appointment of Kim Spadgenske to the Wright County Extension Committee for the period of 4-14-15 to 12-31-16
Virgil Hawkins, Highway Engineer, presented for approval a resolution of final acceptance for the Township Signing Project, Contract #1307, with Safety Signs of Lakeville, Minnesota and to authorize final payment of $5,000. The final value of the work certified is $1,019,655.80. Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #15-14, seconded by Husom, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
A Building Committee Meeting was held on 4-08-15. At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden moved to approve the Minutes, seconded by Husom, carried unanimously. The Building Committee Minutes follow:
I. Jail / LEC Boiler Feasibility Study.
Vergin distributed a letter from Engineering Design Initiative (EDI) to those present (see attached). This letter outlines a Proposal to assess the feasibility of adding a hot water boiler to the existing systems at the LEC. Kelly said there has been discussion about boilers at the Law Enforcement Center (LEC) for several years. The project is in the 2015 Capital Improvement Plan. The LEC has always incurred high building utility costs, especially electrical.
Kelly said there is a need to reduce the cost of utilities and create redundancy at the LEC to provide several ways to heat the building. Natural gas is less expensive, and would accomplish the necessary redundancy. It would also reduce the demand on the existing heat pumps, and increase capacity for future expansion.
Fischer explained the technicalities and the importance of doing their due diligence when installing boilers. The challenge with a geothermal system is to be careful not to negatively impact the borefield.
Fischer said EDI originally designed the borefield. Daleiden suggested getting another quote as well. Fischer said when EDI designed the borefield, they used projections and not actual data. Another vendor can do a live study and test a well with more accurate results.
Discussion followed regarding temperature changes in the borefield from winter to summer. Additional discussion occurred regarding the loop system that moves water from the earth, through the wells and to the heat pumps.
Daleiden asked for the name of a company that could provide another quote. Fischer recommended Braun Intertec. He said they have engineers and geologists on staff, and equipment that takes precise measurements to determine the heat rate and transfer. He suggested that the County conduct a study of the borefield and the impact of adding a boiler system at LEC. Such a study projects needs as much as ten years into the future. Fischer said borefields are typically oversized beyond the original requirements. There is an existing well from which to draw samples.
Daleiden directed staff to get a quote from Braun Intertec (Braun). He requested information on potential energy savings and payback if the new hot water boiler is installed.
Kelly said they will get a quote from Braun Intertec. Hayes reminded those present that some of the wells in the borefield were shut off due to a leak. He suggested asking Braun to investigate this issue as well. Daleiden said Braun should do so, but to quote it separately from the boiler project. Fischer said it is an isolated issue, but affects the entire study. Daleiden said he would like to know whether the leaks are due to a design flaw. Potter said it could also be from the original installation or that they wore out over time.
Fischer said Braun will provide a time and materials “not to exceed” price. He volunteered to meet them at the site.
Recommendation: Obtain quote from Braun Intertec to do a feasibility study regarding adding a hot water boiler at the Law Enforcement Center, and provide a separate quote regarding locating and repairing leaking borefield wells.
(End of 4-08-15 Building Committee Minutes)
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, requested approval of a 2015 Rinke Noonan Retainer Agreement for providing representation and consultation services on drainage matters. The cost is $200/month. Borrell moved to approve the 2015 Rinke Noonan Retainer Agreement, seconded by Daleiden, carried unanimously.
Hiivala requested the Board lay over for one week the quotes for bond counsel for the Public Works bond issuance. Quotes have been received from Springsted and Northland Securities. Ehlers & Associates has requested clarification, as their business provides bond advisement but not bond counsel. Hiivala said the intent is to hire a bond advisor at this point. Bond advisors recommend which bond counsel to use. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, supported the request to lay the item over to allow for review of the quotes that have been received. Daleiden moved to lay the quotes over to the 4-21-15 Board Meeting, seconded by Borrell. It was clarified by Daleiden that the quotes that are being sought are for a bond advisor not bond counsel. The motion carried 5-0.
Asleson said Woodland Hill Vineyards, LLC DBA Woodland Hill Winery currently has a Farm Winery License which is issued by the MN Department of Public Safety, Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement Division. Woodland Hill would like to add a Seasonal On-Sale Liquor License and have Craft Beer tastings. The Application has been approved by the offices of the Wright County Sheriff, Wright County Attorney, and the Franklin Township Board.
Asleson said the Farm Winery License allows Woodland Hill to sell both On-Sale and Off-Sale products they produce. They have an interest in selling strong beer. The focus would be on locally brewed Minnesota products. Asleson said there isn’t a license for strong beer. The Farm Winery License indicates that farm wineries can apply for an Intoxicating Liquor On-Sale License.
Asleson has attempted to contact the State with questions on issuance of Intoxicating Liquor Licenses. Counties are limited on who they can be issued to (bowling center, restaurant, club, or hotel). The County cannot issue licenses in unincorporated areas (to a bar, for example). The question is whether Woodland Hill qualifies as a restaurant. The definition of a restaurant is where meals are regularly prepared on the premises and served at tables to the general public. Woodland Hills serves food but it is not necessarily prepared on the premises. In addition, counties are supposed to set a minimum seating number for restaurants. Records reflect that in Wright County, the Board issued a license in 2013 to Whispering Pines Golf Course in Corinna Township. That is the last evidence of record for the 100-seat requirement. Research completed at that time reflects that decision was made in 1996. The Board has the option to change that number requirement. With regard to the approval for Whispering Pines Golf Course, they were allowed to count their outside seating as they were applying for a seasonal license.
Asleson stated that Woodland Hill would meet the 100 seating requirement if outdoor seating is included. His understanding is that the applicant is okay with applying for a seasonal license with a nine month maximum. However, Asleson said there is still the restaurant classification issue. Whispering Pines Golf Course holds a restaurant license. In contacting the State, he learned there is at least one other winery with a strong beer license in Minnesota. He is unsure how the restaurant issue was dealt with and hasn’t heard back from the State.
Asleson said the Board could lay this item over allowing time to obtain information from the State. When Franklin Township considered the request, they were supportive of the winery’s efforts to serve strong beer on the premises. Asleson stated the County can be stricter than State law; the County does not have to issue an Intoxicating Liquor License if it is not deemed appropriate. Approval can be designated up to a certain alcohol content. If the State indicates that Woodland Hills meets the definition of a restaurant, the County can then issue a seasonal license for strong beer and call the business a restaurant/winery or winery/restaurant. State approval is required for licenses. Asleson suggested hearing from the applicant to make sure they are on board with the seasonal aspect and the strong beer limitation. Husom asked whether the license would be limited to beer and not include other types of liquor. Asleson said according to law, the County can issue that type of license but it would require Township Board approval.
Mike and Katie Dickerman, Woodland Hills Vineyard, said their customers have requested that their establishment serve Craft Beer. K. Dickerman said they will not bring in other types of beer or hard liquor. M. Dickerman said there are wineries in other parts of the State with brewery licenses. The Dickermans indicated they can meet the 100 seating requirement between indoor and outdoor seating. Daleiden moved to lay this item over to a future date until more information is available. The motion was seconded by Husom. In response to Sawatzke, Asleson said the Farm Winery License is a 12-month License. The motion carried 5-0.
The claims listing was reviewed. Daleiden said the claims listing includes claims for the new CAMA and Tax Systems and asked for an update. Hiivala said the County has utilized the Xerox Tax Program and has elected to go forward with an upgrade through Xerox, who is in the process of rewriting the tax program. It is Hiivala’s understanding that Xerox will be able to deliver new Tax and CAMA Programs. Hiivala said other options are being reviewed in case Xerox does not move forward. The County is seeking a contract extension for the Legacy System through Xerox, which is expected to be used for several more years. On a motion by Daleiden, second by Borrell, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, for a total of $232,147.37 with 141 vendors and 203 transactions.
Greg Kryzer, Assistant County Attorney, presented the 3-31-15 Committee Of The Whole (COTW) Minutes and the recommendation relating to the petition by Advanced Disposal Services Rolling Hills Landfill Inc.’s to rezone approximately 323 acres from AG General Agriculture to I-1 General Industry as regulated in Section 504, 604 & 610 of the Wright County Zoning Ordinance. He stated that after the Minutes have been approved, the Board will address the request from the applicant to seek withdrawal or dismissal. Prior to formally discussing the Findings, the Board should review the letter and the request. Kryzer said the Public Hearing is closed to further oral and written comment. He said Peder Larson, Attorney-Larkin Hoffman, who is representing the Landfill should be allowed to speak to the request reflected in the 4-10-15 letter. On a motion by Daleiden, second by Husom, all voted to approve the 3-31-15 COTW Minutes. The 3-31-15 COTW Minutes follow:
Chairman, Mike Potter, called the Committee of the Whole meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. with Commissioners, Chris Husom, Pat Sawatzke, Mark Daleiden and Charlie Borrell present. County Staff included, Planning & Zoning Administrator, Sean Riley; Assistant County Attorney, Greg Kryzer; and legal counsel John Baker. Potter announced the rules of procedure for the meeting to consider a rezoning application by Advanced Disposal Services. A motion for Findings and final action would be forwarded to a future public hearing before the County Board in April and no further public comment would be taken after tonight’s meeting. The date for that meeting has not been scheduled, but the public was informed the agenda is posted on the Wright County website for upcoming meetings on Friday.
ADVANCED DISPOSAL SERVICES ROLLING HILLS LANDFILL INC.
LOCATION: 175 County Road 37 NE – W 1/2 of SW 1/4; part of SW 1/4 of NW 1/4, lying south of County Road 37; part of NE 1/4 and part of SE 1/4 of NW 1/4; lying south of County Road 37; also N 1/2 of SE 1/4, all in Section 31, Township 121, Range 25, Wright County, Minnesota. (Monticello Twp.) APPLICANT: MICHAEL NIEWIND Tax #213-100-313300; 213-100-312302 & 213-100-314100
Petitions to rezone approximately 323 acres from AG General Agricultural to I-1 General Industry as regulated in Section 504, 604 & 610 of the Wright County Zoning Ordinance.
Present: Mike Niewind & Chris Rooney representing, Advanced Disposal; Peder Larson, Larkin Hoffman Law Firm; Jeff Madejczyk, Wenk Associates
Riley presented a power point to show the property as reviewed by the Planning Commission. The zoning map was displayed along with the Land Use Plan for the entire County and the Township Land Use Map for the property in question. The map designates the property as AG General Agricultural. An air photo overlay with hatch marks was prepared by the County Surveyor. The red hatch area is the existing landfill, yellow area is between the site and County Compost Facility; and the blue hatch area represents the approximate area of the project proposed. Commissioners were also provided the Wright County criteria for considering rezoning amendments.
Rooney opened his presentation with slides to show the 72 acres that are to be added for waste disposal within the 460 acres they own. An overview was provided to show the existing landfill and infra-structure; and the location of the expansion footprint, new flare, scale, access road and storm-water retention ponds. Beyond this is the existing County Compost Facility. A brief summary of the history included the opening of the landfill in 1965 with the first permit given in 1971. Landfill began accepting demo, municipal and industrial wastes in 1984 and permit modified to allow construction demo and industrial waste in 1999 as continued to date. Other renewal permits issued were in 2000 & 2010. If the 72-acre expansion is approved, 7.7 million cubic yards of material is planned for. This allows all waste streams at the facility, which he noted were accepted at some time throughout the history of the landfill. This would provide a service for an estimated 33 counties within a 75-mile radius of Rolling Hills and includes the majority of Wright County’s waste. They feel the request complies with the Northeast Quadrant Land Use Plan (NEQ Plan). The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was completed with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The description includes the phased construction, active gas collection and a storm-water management plan for the 76 acres. The landfill would be developed as they go with 5-7 acres in a cell at a time. He explained this is the best way to install the infra-structure, maximize gas collection and run at optimum levels. Public hearings on the EIS were held and completed. First public informational meeting was July 9, 2012, with a second meeting in August, 2014 with the MPCA and a letter of adequacy in November of 2014. Wetland credits were acquired to mitigate wetland impacts, it was determined there is no impact to sensitive ecological resources and design meets all MPCA standards. A detailed model was created for monitoring wells and a surface water system designed to manage a 100-year, 24 hr. storm event. The EIS addresses steps that would be taken to mitigate any potential odor impacts, noise was deemed no problem as it meets the noise standards; and it was determined there are no needs or change required for road improvements. The permit requirements with the MPCA include monitoring and review of the liner design and installation. The MPCA will be involved in the monitoring of that as well as the design of the leachate collection system and groundwater monitoring system. The plans include an active gas collection system with a flare. MPCA is involved in designing the final cover once the landfill is full and they will review the completion and a protocol and monitoring of industrial waste and review by a third party and MPCA to evaluate waste. There is a plan in place in event of a heavy rain. The financial assurances were explained that are currently 5.3 million dollars and with the current proposal increases to 9 million dollars. The design is “State of Art” approved and monitored by the MPCA. The request is for rezoning as the landfill is now zoned AG and not allowed expansion in the current Ordinance. It operates as a legal non-conforming use. The request is to rezone the existing landfill and expansion area to I-1, General Industrial and issue a Conditional Use Permit. Throughout the process, they have been working with the Town Board and received approval on February 2, 2015 from the Town Board.
Larson – slides were displayed to show standards and how the proposed use is consistent with an I-1 zone in that there is an existing landfill and it is close to where the County located their waste management facility. Reasons for allowing an I-1 zone are because there is an existing landfill that has been operating since the 1960’s and is close to the County’s waste management facility. Following are some of the guidelines and goals he pointed to that encourages development of compatible uses and districts. Again, emphasizing the site is surrounded by the existing landfill and County waste management facility. Another guideline is the impact to highway services and he referred to a very positive report from the County Highway professionals that indicate the proposed use would not require additional turn lanes, lights or changes. Larson summarized how the request supports the NEQ Plan and several Major Goals were pointed out. Advanced offered and would like to take over the County Facility which relates to Major Goal 1: “To make the most efficient and economical use of public funds and investments.” He felt that would be a tremendous good use of the County’s investment and public funds. He addressed Goal 3: “To protect agricultural lands from encroachment by incompatible uses.” Noted only a small amount of ag land would be impacted. This operation would be consistent with ag use and the surrounding land. There is nothing inconsistent with a landfill adjoining ag land. Goal 4 : “To protect, preserve & enhance the quality of the natural environment …” The EIS has a complete analysis on that. Rooney went through the lack of impact on sensitive resources and mitigation of wetlands and groundwater protection. He stated it is unusual for him to be sitting at this time in the process with a complete analysis with an EIS that has addressed these. Another Major Goal #5: “To enhance the strength of the Wright County Economy by supporting local industry and attracting quality jobs..” Allowing for expansion of existing facilities and businesses in Wright County is a benefit and Advanced is anxious to continue to be an operator.
Larson reviewed what has changed since 2007 when the NEQ Plan was adopted. No one was in the position of asking for expansion and that was not before the County Board at that time. Now there is an owner anxious to take over the County Waste Facility. A letter from Randy’s Disposal describes a window into a new waste management system in Minnesota which would not have been contemplated back then. This landfill will be important to the modern 2015 waste facility. The Board is in a position to gain some benefits to the County that was not in existence in 2007. He referred the Board to p. 59, of the NEQ Plan, Rural Policies Areas and on Page 61 Policy 3 Other Land Uses: where he pointed out other rural land uses such as aggregate resources, where there is another class of land uses that are non-ag and non-residential land uses. As they consider the request tonight, he suggested it is important that these policies in the NEQ Plan are considered. Kryzer – the reference is also found in the Board’s VOL. II, p 917. Larson – that shows a series of goals and the “additional land uses” is what he is referring to. On page 73, Limited Industrial seems particularly relevant. He read from the policy: “certain industrial uses not requiring urban services, which may not be appropriate in urban areas, or are near urban industrial areas or on land especially well-suited to industrial use”. He felt that was the reason for the decision to locate the County facility where they did, although it is now designated Public Use. Much has happened since 2007 and if they look at those rural policies and Limit Industrial, he stated this is consistent. The references he made and the purpose of that language was for I-1 zoning for uses that are not appropriate near urban areas. With a CUP for sanitary landfills in I-1 zone, there is a NEQ plan for exactly how they do this and felt the request is consistent with the adjacent activities, although the map shows it is green and it is consistent with those guidelines.
Rooney referred the Board to the letter from Randy’s Disposal in support of this facility as it is necessary in the new “State of the Art” digesting facility for managing organics that they are integrating into their business. This is exciting for their business. As Larson noted, since 2007 more new technology and innovations in the waste industry have evolved that no one was considering. They would not be making this investment if they did not think there was a need; and, as is evident with the Randy’s project, the County will end up with one of the most innovative and fully integrated waste systems in the State. The digestive system Randy’s is talking about is a first of its kind in the State. The idea of buying the County’s facility would give them a great opportunity and integrate well into their facility. This could be used to sort organics and a complete organic processing systems. Or, possibly a construction demolition recycling facility. This is a fast growing County with much material where these materials could be sort separated for recycling. That is the potential for buying the County facility, would be a benefit to the County and add jobs, the number depending on what the activities would be. The fee program, under the Greater MN Landfill Fee Statute, requires payment of $6.66 per ton for waste received in Wright County. Those fees are now going to the County where the landfill is located. Daleiden – asked about the fees and if they are limited on how they can be used, do they have to be set aside for SCORE funds or closing landfills. Kryzer answered the fees are designated towards mitigating waste going to landfills. Sawatzke- quoted Statute 415.a 919, states “the money can be used only for landfill abatement, cost of closure, post closure care, response actions or for purposes of mitigating compensation for the risk costs and other adverse causes”. Larson – added, includes County activities related to solid waste or recycling and other purposes. Rooney further explained fees would include $3.33 per ton of MSW that would go to the Township. Referred the Board to the Host Community Agreement they proposed as part of the application. They have offered $1.10 per ton MSW $220,000 - $280,000 per year in addition to the $6.66 per ton of MSW coming into the facility. Container services at the County facilities and offer to purchase the Compost Facility for two million dollars. This facility offers them an opportunity for other operations, including recycling. The County is not limited on how those fees could be used. Daleiden asked for clarification on the fees referred to. Niewind noted that the Statute states interest off the $6.66 per ton of MSW can be used in the general fund. Rooney, re-purposing the Compost Facility is especially exciting to them. Quarterly reports would be provided and regular meetings with the County. They would be open for inspection by the County at their discretion. The opportunities as suggested in the Host Community Agreement are open to further discussion and other ideas.
Larson – quoted the March 19 document with several attachments, p. 675 of Vo. 5. Wants to respond to the comments in the EIS, which was a three-year process and includes many detailed reports. Many similar comments that were in the EIS. On page 1397, Vol. 5, the professional staff at the MPCA has direct quotes to comments submitted to the County. See comments and responses in that document, held on file. Sawatzke referred to a question about groundwater where someone asked about a leak and Advanced responded to that with a well that would pump water out. He calculated the amount of water with one well pumping 25-30 ga. per minute and that would capture it all. Larson – discussion was in response to the direction of groundwater flow. Some people were suggesting the flow was toward the City of Buffalo. He referred to a long study on flow and explained the MPCA does this so they know the direction and speed of the flow in the event something happens. This data shows how comfortable the Agency is and well understood the groundwater flow is in this area. Sawatzke – questioned how long would the pumping occur and would the Company do it for years. Madejczyk –depends on the remedial situation. If they could repair the cause of release and treat it they could stop once the water is clean. He noted it could go on for a long time, noted other wells that are pumped and treated for other activities such as military facilities. Sawatzke asked where the water would be directed. Madejczyk a design for a specific treatment system, may need to go to a treatment facility off site, depending on the nature of the contaminant being treated. Sawatzke noted the potential cost of treating the water is very expensive. The estimate of $867.000 would seem cost prohibitive. Madejczyk - there are certain contaminates and how they treat them vary. Some volatiles are treated by releasing it to the air. Agreed there are some treatment systems that are very expensive. Sawatzke – that cost concerns him and 30 ga. per minute is a very large amount to release. Borrell – one element brought up is vinyl chloride. Madejczyk- although this is a little beyond his expertise, it is one of the volatiles that would be exposed to air. The systems running for a long period of time are not landfill systems.
Larson –the remedy for that is the landfill gas solution. They may need to continue water treatment, but they would find the cause of it. The level of the vinyl chloride has gone down with the gas collection system; and as the system becomes effective the treatment need goes down.
Larson – made the following comments regarding responses that have to do with financial assurances. The funds are available if they need to remediate the site, if the system fails. The engineers have to review and sign off on the plan design and the “as built” construction. Comments about the compatibility of the liner regarding the waste and leachate. The MPCA states that the liners are designed to be compatible to the waste and the leachate found in the waste stream. These conclusions are also for the Board’s purposes as well as reviewed by the State Agency. Property values: The information from the Wright County Assessor in 1997 shows the landfill did not have an impact on the property values over 30 years. Another statement from Carlton County was that it could not be proven that property values would be diminished from a proposed landfill. The question about who is responsible, and the answer is that they are forever. He read that the MPCA states the financial assurances are in place to eliminate the cost implications for the residents, counties and State. This is outlined in State rules and if the property changes hands, the new owner would be responsible.
Husom – asked as the landfill grows vertically and if there is indication that something has happened with a leak or with the liner, how do they get down to that level? Do they have to remove the 20-30 feet of waste to correct a problem? Rooney and Larson indicated that is possible. Larson indicated Madejczyk can address that along with the post closure, closure and contingency action plan in his presentation. The MPCA is requiring nine million dollars, in the case there is that kind of event.
Larson – reviewed slides that are in response to discussion at the Planning Commission. There was a lot of discussion about the idea of rezoning 323 acres. He wanted to provide a different way to look at if they choose. The tax parcel map shows three parcels to be rezoned, but only two of the parcels are involved in the expansion. Staff suggested all three parcels be included, so they did. The expansion area is 72 acres. The MPCA calculation of ag land lost, as described in the EIS, is 38 acres with a total of 118 acres in the expansion. He reviewed a map outlining the old landfill, new proposed area and lower left is not in the application, but they own that land. The following document was displayed to show a smaller area that could be rezoned if the acreage seems daunting. That outlines an option of 118 acres for an I-1 use, 38 is currently in ag use. Sawatzke – questioned where the 38 acres of agricultural is located. Larson – pointed it out on the air photo, area inside the yellow hatched area.
Rooney –summarized what expansion would mean for the community. The economic benefits to the County and Monticello Township is approximately 31 million dollars. The expansion means, maintaining 4-5 jobs and the addition of 6-7 jobs on site without the need for any public funding from the County or Township. This is the only household waste facility in the County; and in conjunction with Randy’s, the potential purchase of the Wright County Facility would create one of the best waste systems in the State of Minnesota and will provide waste disposal for about eleven years.
Madejczyk referenced March 12, MPCA document “Closure, Post-closure Contingency Action Plan” addresses what happens after they stop accepting waste and post closure. Document was handed out and had also been provided to the Planning Commission. Multiple facets were summarized. Landfill is constructed and closed in phases and depending on waste acceptance, determines the time. Final closure comes at that time, these have to be designed and certified by an engineer, presented to the MPCA and they have to approve it. The financial assurance that has to be provided is based on the largest area open and in this case, would take 3.9 million dollars to close. The next stage is post-closure. They have to provide funds and continue operating the systems at the landfill for a period of thirty years. They are required to provide funds, operate the leachate and gas systems; and, over time they decrease. The monitoring has to continue, along with inspections, reporting on a quarterly and annual period and provided to the State. The MPCA reviews these to see if the funds are adequate, they can require additional monitoring, funds and even extend the post-closure time period to address any item. There are different kinds of contingency actions required. He reviewed the events that could trigger an action. This is laid out in the contingency plan and how they would be addressed. The financial assurance and the amount is based on this landfill, costs at other landfills that needed to be closed, adjusted for inflation and the amounts can be adjusted at any time. A table was displayed. Madejczyk stated $200,000 is what is estimated to operate these post-closure costs. The figure of five million dollars is for existing landfill and the expansion area requires over 9 million dollars for a total facility, post-closure amount of 14 million dollars. Sawatzke – assuming that there is no unfortunate situation. Madejczyk – this is the typical. Sawatzke asked how many years that the wells are tested and they mow the property. Madejczyk – for the entire 30 years. Because there have been some questions as to what happens at the end of thirty years, there are some landfills getting close to that end date, the MPCA is now going to require a summary report at the end of the 30 years to decide what will be needed after that time. The MPCA knows this will start to happen and will find a way to further monitor, over time things are much more stringent and more detailed. He would expect those would become more stringent and would have to continue.
Daleiden – asked if Advanced has closed any landfills and where. Rooney – stated they have had two, one in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin which was a MSW landfill; the other was in St. Louis, Missouri that has not been fully certified, it was closed about two years ago. Sawatzke – asked if the closure costs are at their expense? He asked about the continued cost of six million dollars and how they get to that. Madejczyk – explained the 20-year bond is adjusted for inflation and with the adjustment provide additional funds per year and additional funds beyond that. Some States require all the funds up front, some at different times. Sawatzke noted it was determined to take 3.9 million dollars to close the facility and 4.8 million dollars to do the things needed in monitoring the facility. Using the calculation described, what would be left is $866,000 in the contingency fund and that does not sound like much. Madejczyk explained the 3.4 million dollars is what is available in the event the largest area does not get closed and would still be in the bond. Larson – also important, are the rules that require annual review and the MPCA can adjust this amount as they feel it is needed. The MPCA rules are under review and they expect there will be some updates that will include financial assurances. Sawatzke – clarified at this time, they are only requiring 20 years of financial assurances to begin with. Larson noted they bring this up because there were questions at the Planning Commission. The MPCA findings were that the proposed design and operations would have little risk of leaks to groundwater. He noted the amount of inspections by different parties. These funds are backup in case something goes wrong.
Potter asked what happens after 30 years and would they be required to follow future MPCA rules if they change. Larson indicated that is right. Calculations they made today, the unlined part is subject to all the same financial requirements. That material was put in 60 years ago, add another 30 years of responsibility, the Company will be responsible for a long time. Potter – if there is a successor, would the thirty years of monitoring start over? Larson - a change in ownership does not make a difference anymore. It will be up to the MPCA to determine when they are done.
Husom – asked about the acreage and the amount included in the old landfill. The applicant owns 460 acres, but that includes additional acreage outside the area to be rezoned. Larson – reviewed the entire land area Advanced owns. The three parcels in the application are the 323 acres, most of which is the old landfill.
Something they have now suggested for consideration is a much smaller area of rezoning. Potter – verified the area in red. The lesser amount in the hatched area is 118 acres. Husom – extra 137 acres would have no plans. Rooney – that would continue to be farmed and used as a buffer area. Potter the 460 acreage includes land south of 60th Street. Rooney – correct.
PUBLIC COMMENT FOLLOWED:
Mark Rise – 7745 Aetna Avenue NE –the Commissioners received a document and asked he be given more time as one presenter for the four authors. The document explains why the request to rezone should be denied. The County’s own mission statement is: “To preserve and enhance the quality of life of its citizens by providing quality service, through a participatory process, that holds the welfare of its citizens and their environment as its primary objective.” The NEQ Wright County Land Use Plan was a participatory process. The Plan was designed to provide policies to guide these decisions. He referred to Section 1.1, page 3-4 and noted there is a historic emphasis on preserving ag land. Although it does allow for some spot zoning, the Plan emphasizes it should only happen in rare and unusual circumstances; and, only in the public interest and not to the benefit of an individual or small group. That is the reason they believe that this spot zoning should not be approved because it is only for a private company and would be to the detriment of the citizens. Some ways citizens living nearby would be harmed followed. Much discussion about property values, but the MPCA was ambivalent and made arguments that no well-controlled studies could be found to show the landfill would be detrimental to land values. One study cited by Reickert, page 194 of the EIS indicates the biggest impact would be on high-value homes. Rise noted several homes and communities within a half mile that are high-valued homes. He asked the Board themselves to consider if they were to buy a home within a mile of the landfill would they pay full value for that house. The landfill was pointed out on the map and the location of high-end homes around Cedar and Black Lakes. Another lake and a development under construction are also nearby. He would argue that the landfill would negatively impact their values. The residents would also be impacted by the noise, dust and traffic. MPCA only takes into consideration volume, they do not take into consideration constant noises and beepers. The odor is also an impact to neighbors. If approved, there would be a large increase in truck traffic. He estimated double the amount of what they currently have. This did not take into account truck traffic to excavate the site and questioned whether daily cover would be brought in rather than using material on site. Asked, if they can sell the gravel from the site and charge people to bring in contaminated soils, from a business standpoint, will they do that? An estimate was a total 120,000 trips over the lifetime of the landfill. This increased traffic is detrimental and adds risk to people living in the vicinity. He suggested the expansion of the landfill competes with more responsible approaches to handling garbage. Advanced made some suggestions about future waste management methods, but the request is clear, what they are talking about here is a landfill, not exciting new methods of handling waste. They are talking about stockpiling garbage. In 2012 the County had not reached its goal for 35% recycling and that is something to strive for. The December 16, issue of the St. Cloud Times reported the Tri-County Solid Waste Commission decided to sell the land they had for a landfill. The reason was that they did not believe it was needed because they had reached a 50% recycle rate and entered into a recovery energy facility with Pope & Douglas Counties. The MPCA received comments from several surrounding Counties in the source district expressing concern that opening a new landfill would undermine their efforts for recycling and waste management. Page 6 of the EIS, states the MPCA came to the conclusion that this expansion was not needed for the 11 years, there is plenty of available capacity. So approving the landfill is not in the best interest of the County citizens. He prepared a schematic to show profits and loss model. The slide was reviewed on investments required to open the landfill, then within the 11 years while it is open and they are generating revenue; after that time it is all a loss. Depending on which document you read, 20-30- years, the Company is responsible for absorbing the closure costs. The responsibility is transferred at some time to the public. He suggested they keep in mind the landfill has to be maintained “forever” until it catastrophically fails or can be proven it is safe. These are referred to as dry tomb landfills, the waste must stay dry to remain safe. The leachate has to be extracted, the test wells have to be maintained along with the systems that remove the gas and leachate and maintain the liner systems to make sure no leachate leaks out the bottom. The Company talked about the cost of maintaining those systems, but no discussion on what happens after that time. His experience, including 30 years as an engineer, is that the thermal nature can destroy what man makes and will. An example are barns across the countryside that are not being maintained. Also, “Murphy’s Law” says what can go wrong, will go wrong. The gulf drilling requesters were undoubtedly making the same arguments to the EPA, yet they had one of the largest oil spills in history. Daleiden asked what kind of engineering degree Rise held. Rise- answered he has an electric and bio-medical. He worked in the medical device industry. He would assert the modern landfill will fail and they will have to deal with the result. The existing landfill is already leaking. The chemicals that are put in the MSW landfill will attack the liner and is why it is important to continue pulling the leachate off. At the Planning Commission meeting he provided a list of chemicals that will attack these liners that he obtained from GSE, the largest manufacturer of landfill liners. He did a calculation and Advanced would generate 220 million dollars of revenue over 11 years. The other beneficiaries are the NIMBY communities surrounding Wright County. Referring to p. 117, of the EIS and doing a calculation shows that more than 96% of garbage is coming from outside of Wright County. These other communities, as well as three counties in Wisconsin, are able avoid future problems he discussed. Wright County taxpayers would derive 31 million dollars, but if you back out the portion to be designated for mitigation, it would only leave 9 million dollars. Further break that out for every citizen in the county it is only $6-and even less when you take out what is going to Monticello Township residents. He did not feel even with what Monticello Township would get, would be worth it. The MPCA figures the cost of mitigating problems at 13 landfills is 16 million dollars apiece. Rise felt the question is whether $6.80 a year for 11 years justifies the environmental liability of allowing other counties to stockpile their garbage in Wright County is worth it. The other question is whether the funds for recovery or mitigation would still be there when needed. In previous documents provided the Planning Commission, they showed those funds were raided in 2010 as part of a budget balancing effort. He felt there is no guarantee those funds would be there. The citizens and authors of this presentation are asking the Commissioners to deny the rezoning because it will be extremely detrimental to the local residents, offers no significant benefits to the broader Wright County residents; it would be a burden to future citizens to handle; the existing landfill is already polluting the environment and the proposed landfill would also. It was concluded by the MPCA that the landfill is not needed and undermines more responsible waste management procedures; and most importantly, it is in conflict with the guidance of NEQ Land Use Plan that was a participatory process in Wright County and intended to provide guidance for such decisions. Request the Commissioners deny the rezoning request. He submitted a Petition for denial with about 200 signatures.
Gary Stai –1075 CR 37 NE –handed out and read a prepared letter. He retired from the BSNR and moved out here after being told the landfill would be closed in 3-5 years. Did not expect this rezoning for expansion. The expansion would come within a quarter mile of them and include MSW. Just over a year ago, representatives of Advanced Disposal and a local commercial realtor approached them to buy their property now or later, with a non-disclosure clause they would have to sign before they even made an appraisal. They could continue to live there. Advanced Disposal offered to appraise the property as if the landfill did not exist. A letter they received from the MPCA in 2006 indicating the landfill would be closed with the statement highlighted was provided. The map attached shows the location of their house in relation to the expansion. This is a personal matter for them. A letter and a quote of the MPCA dated September 13, 2010 was read referencing the completion of the landfill. Since moving here they reported to the previous operator the odor and because they did nothing, he followed up with many complaints to the MPCA. These are of record with the MPCA. The home they bought for retirement meets their needs and they want to stay, but the expansion and the odor would be a daily experience, their water source becomes questionable and traffic outrageous. He and his wife respectfully urge the Commissioners to turn down the request. Potter asked Stai if he knew when he moved out the landfill was there. Stai yes, in 2006 and could not recall who had told him it was closing, but the MPCA backs that up. Potter, he is having a tough time when Stai knew it was there. Stai – what they are talking about is the expansion. The landfill was enough of a problem with what it was and referred to the problems with the odor and now how close this would come to his backyard. He understood it was there, but was told it was going to be full in 3-6 years and be closed.
Linda Stai – they knew it was there were assured it would be closed. They loved the home and property and did not think they would be looking at these affects for years to come. She has heard comments that they need a landfill, implying they are NIMBYS. She does not want to see it anyone’s backyard. The EIS concluded there is not a need for a MSW. They have been dealing with the odor for many years, if approved the landfill would create more problems with MSW and be closer to them. She questioned why it is necessary to have it near private homes. They are concerned about protecting the natural environment and wildlife. Another concern is their water source, noting there is no guarantee that vinyl chloride will not continue leaking into the groundwater. The Company offers 20-30 years of monitoring, however, the County would be responsible for costs after that. No dollar value can be put on the value of protecting the health of citizens. Safety concern with increased traffic for a neighbor who is below a hill, with their four children where a school bus has to stop. Property values would be negatively affected. Advanced as much admitted that when they offered to buy their property at a price as though the landfill did not exist. To sum this up, there is no need, there are predictable problems, and the temporary increase of income would be offset by the expense of health problems, loss of taxes because of reduced property values and is not a wise investment. She asked that the Commissioners support her husband and herself along with the community by denying the rezoning.
Ken Scadden – resident at 7415 Cahill Avenue – as a member of the Town Board he remembers when the previous owner said it was going to be closed. The Town Board vote was 4/1 to approve, but was done without an opportunity for public input. When the Township and County met on the Land Use Plan it was felt they did not need more Industrial. He felt if they would have wanted the landfill expansion they would have changed it to Industrial. He did not feel the rezoning request fits into the agricultural area, would be spot zoning and set a precedent for other requests to rezone. As a resident living southeast of the landfill the odor was not as bad when it was industrial waste; however, household waste was terrible. He noted when 20 loads of household garbage are dropped on the ground and before it can be covered, the smell is unavoidable. It does no good to call the MPCA as they have no rules on odor. The residents have been dealing with these problems for 45 years and felt it was someone else’s turn. He felt if this is approved, they can expect a huge tax burden on future generations. This does not fit the area and understands if approved, the new landfill would be another 10’ higher than the current one. As a member of the Town Board for many years, they expected that when it was filled, this would be done. He noted there have been many changes in ownership over the years. As a member of the Town Board, he remembered the previous owner said it was going to be closed. Sawatzke –recalled he was on the Planning Commission for the previous permit and neighbors were asking if they were going to expand into the additional land; and, they had said that they bought additional land for buffer. It was not stated by this owner.
Deborah Scherber – resident at 5737 Afton Avenue –as a professional working with children, she is always looking at the future because children are our future. In the education business, what they are creating for them now and how they will work and survive in their future. They focus on the four “C’s” communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity, 21st century skills. Those skills were further described. Thinking about why they are here with a business that wants to expand, she asked where is the communication to find a solution? The engineering, design process identify the problem they are trying to solve, but the EIS has determined that this type of landfill is not needed in this area. So a solution for a problem that does not exist. Considering collaboration, they need to think about involving everyone to find solutions. Critical thinking involves looking at things in a new way, looking across subjects and disciplines. They should take what they know and make it better and consider other people’s opinions. The landfill is projected as a modern 2015 system, but what will it mean 50 years down the road, when we are still babysitting it. Thinking about when it started, the technology has changed and the monitoring is more sophisticated, but we are still burying garbage. There have been discussions about other ways to handle the waste. She suggested a fourth “R” reclaiming waste to energy technologies which is more than incinerators. She is not an expert, but there are many things in this field. There are nine facilities in the State, i.e. Target Field, where there are uses for reclaimed energies. Urged the Commissioners to consider that it is a business proposal before them; but, what has the County done to see if there is a need. They have heard through the EIS there is not a need. Three nearby Counties agreed no need and have gone as far as to sell land reserved for landfilling because they have found it is not needed. She researched a company that does comprehensive screening of MSW and proposes a decision support tool designed to aid and evaluate the cost and environmental aspects of proposed landfills or mitigation of refuse. A county in Ohio has developed a 15-year plan based on the type of information they have gained. She suggested they take a longer, more careful look at a better use for waste. Creativity is trying new approaches to get things done equals innovation and inventions. Although they have been shown new innovations to babysit the refuse put in a hole, she suggested they look at new ways rather than burying our waste. As far as the figures and financial assurances, she asked who is in charge 50 years down the road and what mess would this create for future generations. They offer an eleven year financial boon for the County, but how can this be profitable with all the mitigation costs. As the largest landfill company in the US and an international company they have deep pockets, but considering what the ramifications of a future event could cost, it is a drop in the bucket. Daleiden asked if she said largest company. Rooney – clarified they are the largest privately owned company. Scherber – felt that even drives home her point more, because they are more concerned about their own interest. Reminded them the County Planning Commission recommended denial. County Staff have heard many communications over recent years. The future of the community and our children from what happens tonight is in this room. She quoted a song titled, “Do Something”, by Michael West “If not us, then who, if not me and you, right now it is time for us to do something, if not now when, when we will see an end to all this pain, it is not enough to do nothing, it is time for us to do something.” The Commissioners have a chance to do something extra-ordinary that will impact those in the room and those that come after. She asked the Board to vote no to deny the request to rezone.
Kevin Marquette – resident at 900 CR 37 NW – stated as a resident one mile west of the landfill, noted they have heard a lot of concerns expressed about the landfill, but the question tonight is rezoning. He noted the Planning Commission’s recommendation was not to rezone. He outlined three questions that were addressed during the Planning Commission that should decide the proposal and were as follows. Does the rezoning fit into the NEQ Land Use Plan; avoids spot zoning; does rezoning add value to the residents of Wright County. His answer to the first two questions is no. The only one that might be in question is the third. Commissioner Borrell had suggested a hypothetical question, if John Deere came into the County and wanted to build a new facility, we would be all over it. Putting the brand name on it makes it sound better. He wanted to make this comparison and whether this proposal looks better in “John Deere” green. With the 300 acres he compared the economic activity using number of 418 employees hired. He compared the 6% is only Wright County residents. He noted the odor, noise and large amount of trash along roadways that comes from MSW hauled into the landfills. He encounters this in his daily travel along Hwy. 10 where he sees large amounts of trash along the roads from trucks hauling garbage to the landfill in Elk River. He described what they are talking about here is tons of garbage put into a large garbage bag, 7 million tons of trash. Some waste is hazardous, 81,000 tons of pollution every year, including 9.3 tons of hazardous air pollutants, 205 tons of sulfur dioxide which is 1,000 pounds a year. The 205 tons is roughly the tons of waste they are going to give to Wright County. Daleiden – asked where he found the information from. Marquette –a table in the EIS. Marquette –this waste will create leachate, includes corrosive items, heavy metals, PCBS, which is documented. This has to be hauled off the landfill for processing. The cost of closing and post closure costs is about $6 million dollars. The land will not have any practical use after this. Funds beyond 30 years are unknown. Regarding assurances, he noted the ownership has turned over many times in the past 30 years; and, suggested this could continue. Companies go out of business, change hands and this owner may not continue to own this property after 41 years. The plastic bag holding the waste may fail and could bring up to an eight figure cost for cleanup, huge cost. The numbers he referred to are in the EIS on the MPCA website where there is a summary and sum of all the flared landfill gas and fugitive gas that comes off that is not flared, and is approximately 81,000 tons of gases released per year over thirty years. One of these numbers he pointed out is Toluene a known carcinogen and one element is 1.2 tons of Toluene. They said there are no carcinogens in the flared gas, this may be true, but it is unflared gas. This is a heavy gas that does not dissipate, it collects in low lying areas. He asked the Commissioners to consider if this synopsis is an asset or liability for Wright County. The “John Deere” reference gives it an all “Americana” affect, everyone has a personal connection, but we don’t get that with ADS. The Better Business Bureau gives ADS a grade of “F”. There is much talk about the revenue coming into the County and Township, but that is only if all goes right. Unlike Jacksonville, who had to spend much money in Court to get their millions of dollars because of how they were reporting the amount of trash. ADS did win a couple of awards, they were named one of the “Dirty Dozen” in the Northeast area for two of their landfills. They needed incentives to reduce waste, there was a pattern of non-compliance and odors, and were charged penalties. A group filed a law suit claiming odors and infringement on their health and property. State of Vermont sued and closed down the Mooretown Landfill, according to the Office of the Attorney General, because they failed to contain gas, maintain landfill cover, monitor liquid waste and failed to handle storm water discharge. The applicant gives assurances all would go right and is monitored; but, there is evidence that is not always the case and there is additional history. He provided documents to show this. The information from the MPCA in the EIS states that this is not needed, there is plenty of landfill space. He has not heard there are alternate proposals or that if Wright County does not move forward, surrounding Counties will scoop in and take this Company’s offer. No one wants this. Has not heard we need the service, there are about 33 years of MSW handling capacity. There is no MSW landfill in Wright County, but the haulers already have a plan. This project benefits the Company and would bring in 200-250 million off this expansion. The burden of the landfill over the long term and risk will eventually fall onto the Wright County residents. He asked, does this proposal look like an asset or liability? This sounds like a liability to him and asked they vote to deny the rezoning request. The documents were handed to Riley.
Grace Pederson – resident at 6071 CR 12 N – directly across from the landfill – heart goes out to the Stai couple as they too have lived through summer after summer without being able to open windows, had to put in expensive Norway windows. They entertain large groups on their property and had to keep windows closed, with much cost of cooling the home with their air conditioning. At one event, a visitor ran back into the house to inform them he thought they had a gas leak. This was the odor coming from the landfill. One neighbor becomes so ill from the gas and has to leave their home for days on end. She did not feel that is right. She pleaded they deny this rezoning request.
Shannon Bye – resident of Monticello Township and Supervisor on the Town Board – has been attending meetings on the landfill before this owner bought the landfill; and this owner has been attending the Town Board over the last 2-3 years. She has not heard these comments, had not seen residents attend the Town meetings on this issue since she has been on the Board. Although they had not heard from these residents, they took action with contingencies. Speaking for herself, had they had a petition with 200 signatures, or heard the residents’ concerns, she would have thought differently. She had put in 40 hours into reviewing the MPCA document and research on the matter, but the residents personal experiences as it compare with those documents need to be taken into account.
David Pederson – 6071 CR 12 N – he introduced himself as the closest resident, 500’ from the landfill into the woods and also a member of the Planning Commission, which is an honor and privilege to serve on. He was on the Planning Commission when the NEQ Plan was developed. Staff worked hard, it was a long process meeting with Town Board Supervisors, two public input meetings, a Task Force set up that met for almost a year. After that, the Planning Commission held the public hearing at which time it was approved by both the Planning Commission and County Board. The long process had much public input and Plan resulted in an 83-page document. This is what the people wanted, the residents said they want the land left as is with little change, and leave the ag land alone. He requests the County Board deny the rezoning request.
Dave Bryant – 5599 CR 12 N – the comments cover what he would say, but D. Pederson spoke of the Land Use Plan and he felt that is a good solid Ordinance. If they deny the request, no doubt they will challenge that decision in Court. But if approved, they will fill the landfill the size of the original that took 50 years in 11 years; and, if they fill that they will be back for a third “mountain” landfill expansion. Request they turn this down tonight, first time around or this will go on forever.
Ed Key – resident at 1703 90th St. NW – South Haven –came thinking this was to be a zoning discussion and is hearing a lot about how they will run their business, but not much about why we should change the zoning. What has changed in the County, is it our objectives, motives or criteria that would make us want to change the zoning for “Mount Dump”. What is the argument to justify, what are the goals or objectives for rezoning for another dump? Why do we want this?
Potter asked if there is any further public comment, hearing none closed the public input portion of the hearing.
Applicant’s response:
Larson – clarified some of the issues. Some issues are permanent; but the financial assurances is a draft financial assurance plan. There are plenty of opportunities if the County Board has some concerns, they can have further discussions on that. The traffic concern was addressed by the County Highway Department who provided information and recommendations that there is no need for improvements and there are no significant impacts. Regarding the comments on noise, the MPCA said there is no problem with the level noise. The comment regarding raiding the State fund, but that is so flush and over-funded that there are discussions going on at this time on how much money should go back in because of very good investments that have been made. Both the MPCA and the applicant have different opinions on the need for a landfill, but noted they all start out assuming recycling goals are met, they are very aggressive even though they are not now being met. Counties are planning to expand and operate their landfills, so the disagreement is this. No findings by the MPCA that would take away from higher order of management of waste. Reference to tons of pollutants, like on Table 9.2 and 9.4, are the combined landfills (existing and new) most is from new, so these numbers look big but the MPCA conclude the total accumulative effect would not adversely impact the human health and environment. The MPCA did not require any health risk analysis because the numbers are low enough that additional analysis was unnecessary. There are three haulers that sent letters in support of this, similar to Randy’s as there is a tremendous concern for cost of landfilling in this area. There is a lot of support in the hauling industry that this is a good project.
Madejczyk – stated he miss-spoke on how he described the bond. The bond is what is available to the State but Advanced has to pay the cost out of pocket for post-closure and closure. The bond can be adjusted if they are meeting their obligations and if they don’t the State can use the bond. Sawatzke – asked how the bond would be adjusted. Madejczyk that would be up to the MPCA to decide.
On a motion by Daleiden, seconded by Husom to close the public hearing for further written and oral comment, Carried Unanimously.
Sawatzke – Monticello Township is in his District and they recommended approval. He felt looking at the economics, it is easy to understand why. This would generate much funds for the Township and exceeds their annual budget, his mother was a Town Clerk for 30 years and he has much respect for the Town Board. He cannot help but find it ironic when considering the benefits of financial for both the Township and County and the amount that has to go toward landfill abatement, to keep garbage out of the landfill. He appreciated and commended the applicants on how they have handled themselves and could not say that about the presentation 15 years ago. He also noted the Public input has been respectful. This is an emotional issue for residents, potential for impacts to their properties and lives and the applicant who is trying to make money. Referenced impact to land values, different studies, specifically the “Richard Reickert” study which he felt is important, a copy can be found in the documents. Kryzer – noted these studies were provided in the record and were cited in the EIS. Sawatzke – felt this study was particularly applicable to this project. The analysis was that those larger landfills, accepting high volumes of 500,000 tons per day, with this facility near that, because it would receive 210,000, would have a negative impact on property values by 13.7% on average. Some other studies are not as conclusive, but it is a strong feeling especially with larger landfills. Solid waste industry has referred to these but were based on a small number of house sales and not a large sample. Suggests two things, the larger landfills would have a bigger impact and the other studies did not see so much of an impact but did not have a very large sales samples. Much discussion on the environmental studies and heard different engineering opinions. He did not doubt they want to build a “State-of-Art” facility. There have been suggestions of problems at other facilities, they cannot be sure if that would happen here or not. He felt it is a business decision as to whether we need it. Much in reports and the question keeps being brought up is the rezoning; and, although Larson spoke to this some. Larson had referred to one policy in the Plan found on page 61, which he read is particularly important to another class of lands: Rural Area Policy 3: Other Land Uses and “non residential and non agricultural” is exactly right that it identifies those areas, but this area is not one of them. That argument does not strengthen their positions argument. Another one is on Page 73, designates industrial areas. Although that is true, but the Plan does not designate the land in question for Industrial, it is designated as AG, so those arguments come up short. Language in the Plan that does support the property not rezoning, talks about spot-zoning and talks about not rezoning for an individual interest. The issue is about rezoning, looking at the request, Plan, language and the map that suggests this does not rise to the level of rezoning. For those reasons he cannot support the rezoning.
Daleiden – agrees with Sawatzke that the process has been very respectful. Due to the amount of information given tonight, he needs further time for study.
Potter – concurred with Sawatzke’s comments noting he has been on the Board a long time. The neighbors do not want this in their backyard, no one does. Their Planning Commission recommends denial, those are people who have been in the trenches and with the time they have put into this and their concerns they have with rezoning, and he could not support this at this time. Not that landfills don’t have a benefit when needed. He would have to support the recommendation of the Commission with his past experience in City government he has a difficult time going against their recommendation.
Husom – stated she focused on the Land Use Plan, not just the NEQ Plan, but the County as a whole. The Plan started in 1978, updated in 1988 and a long process in 2007 when the current Plan was adopted. Some of the important aspects she pointed out were that it talks about the variety and uniqueness of the different areas can be best maintained through adherence to the Plan. AG land and farmers can gain assurance that they can continue to farm and expand their operations without fear of encroaching residential development. Developers and purchasers can be assured that there are other areas that can be developed. As demonstrated throughout this Plan there is no need for development in Ag district, most development that occurs is related to employment and employment in the Twin Cities area. The Board has to be mindful of everything that has gone into developing the Plan and her concern is if they were to rezone there has to be a very compelling reason to do it and it is for the public good. The Plan was developed for the public good, they have reasonable expectations. The landfill started in 1965, some records are sketchy on the permits, but her point is that if they should rezone to General Industry 323 acres, and another 127 acres they own and do not ask for expansion in 11 years, they would have land for sale, or picked up additional land from offers they have made, now zoned I-1 and another industry could come in. There are Industrial areas in the city limits, not all are filled and this is out here. This creates a “slippery slope” they have started and could continue. She asked how could they deny another industry from coming in next to an industry that was accepted. She cannot support this.
Sawatzke noted the applicant had presented an option of changing the acreage request. The same argument applies whether it is 323 acres or 123 acres. The point is the entire request is before them, acknowledge they have offered to reduce, but the reasons given for not rezoning the whole parcel equally applies to a portion of it. The suggestion of a “John Deere” industry coming in, but he could not support that here either, that belongs in an industrial area in a City or area of a Township that are zoned industrial and those are the areas industry needs to look at. Does not belong out in the middle of agricultural as many of the same arguments apply.
Husom also wanted to commend the applicants and thank residents for standing up and speaking.
Borrell – noted this is the reason Wright County will not have a John Deere industry. That industry does not locate in a city because they need large acreage. He would also thank everyone. If voted down, it will end up in Court like 11 years ago when the County lost and they got their way and now they are back. Although he is not suggesting it, there might be a compromise where there is an end. Possibly there could be a deed restriction, so that in 11 years they are done. They are taking a chance and don’t know what they might get. Daleiden – the applicants were not here before. Borrell – stated he was addressing the residents.
Sawatzke – referred to the Staff Report suggests the Committee of Whole direct Staff to draft Findings. He asked if they want a vote. Kryzer – Staff needs time to develop Findings consistent with what the Board is recommending.
Sawatzke moved that they recommend Staff develop Findings of Fact drafted consistent with denial of the rezoning application of Advanced Disposal Services, Inc. based on the record, including 504.1 of the Ordinance and contain the appropriate language and other arguments consistent with what has been heard throughout this hearing. We note that the Committee’s discussion today does not constitute an approval or denial of the request, nor is the discussion a final evaluation of the record. Staff are directed, based upon the discussion to date, to prepare proposed findings to present to the County Board for further deliberation at a future date not to go past April 28, 2015. The County Board will make a final evaluation of the record and a final statement of its reasoning, with findings, to approve or deny the request at that time. Board members indicated they concur.
Kryzer – Staff hope to get them drafted and attempt to send notices to the public, but encouraged the public to review the County Board agenda every Friday. Daleiden informed the public where to find the agenda and relative documents.
Potter adjourned the meeting at 9:31 p.m. (End of 3-31-15 COTW Minutes)
Kryzer stated that after the County Board Agenda was published on 4-10-15, correspondence dated 4-10-15 was received from Peder Larson of Larkin Hoffman Attorneys, representing Advanced Disposal Rolling Hills Landfill requesting a withdrawal of the application for rezoning. He read the letter:
“Re: Advanced Disposal Rolling Hills Landfill Expansion Withdrawal of Application for Rezoning
“This letter is transmitted on behalf of Advanced Disposal Services Rolling Hills Landfill, Inc. (“Advanced”). Advanced appreciates the public discussion that has occurred regarding its application for rezoning and a Conditional Use Permit dated December 15, 2014 for Advanced’s property in Monticello Township. Advanced has carefully considered the comments by Wright County Planning Commission members and Wright County Commissioners during hearings on the rezoning application. Based on those comments, by this letter Advanced withdraws its application for rezoning and a Conditional Use Permit. With this withdrawal, we respectfully request that the matter be removed from the Wright County Board of Commissioners agenda.
Advanced is proud of its operation in Wright County and will continue to investigate and pursue options to continue operating our facility and contributing to the economic well-being of Wright County.
(End of 4-10-15 Letter from Peder Larson, Larkin Hoffman Attorneys)
Riley said it was appropriate to allow Larson an opportunity to address the Board with regard to the request. Larson said he appreciates the opportunity to speak on the withdrawal request. He stated that Advanced is really focused on doing this process right from the very beginning. They spent three years on an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) at a time when the agency said they should maybe wait to get some things in place. Advanced said it was important that they have this information. Larson said he hopes the County Board will see this as another step in the process where Advanced really wants to do this right. Larson said the letter speaks for itself in many ways. He said they learned a lot from the Planning Commission and COTW Meeting. He said it was unusual in his experience and in the experience of Advanced that the feedback received was limited to those hearings. He said that was their opportunity to learn a little about the Planning Commission members and the Board members opinions of the project. Larson said Advanced wants to continue to discuss with the County what is appropriate at the site. He said that Advanced thinks, for many reasons as they have discussed with the Board, that there is a need for a site like that and there are a lot of benefits to it. He said they will continue to need a place for disposal of waste, as much as they prefer other options. He said in the end, there will still be that need. Larson restated that they are committed to doing this right. He said that Advanced has learned a lot and is not interested in a battle with the County. They would rather work with the County to try and figure out how they can continue to work at that site.
Sawatzke said Larson mentions “doing it right” several times. He asked that Larson elaborate more on that as he does not understand what that means. Larson responded that Advanced started this process a long time ago and took it step wise. They took a lot of time to get an EIS done correctly, spent time with County staff, and tried as much as they could to talk with the County and learn what the County’s desires were. He said that is the meaning of what he said. They have tried to be very open, listen, and have as much information as they could provide. He said they hope to continue to do that and that is what he means by “doing it right.”
Sawatzke asked Larson if he was fully aware that in the process, the governing board at the end of the day determined that the request to rezone does not meet the Land Use Plan. He thought that was a unanimous recommendation of the Board. Larson said they are aware of that. Husom asked whether the request is to withdraw the rezoning request and the conditional use permit request. Larson said that is correct.
Sawatzke noted there were a few of the neighbors at the County Board Meeting. Although it is not specific to this request but is related because it is part of the property for which they asked for the rezoning for, he asked Larson to provide information on the existing landfill. He asked for detail on how much space is remaining, and what the timetable is for the existing landfill being closed and capped. Larson said he did not have that information available at the meeting but could provide it to them another time.
Kryzer informed the Board that there was one prior incidence in which a matter was recommended for denial at the Planning Commission and then subsequently withdrawn. The Board of Adjustment and Planning Commission both have policies that an applicant can withdraw at any point up until Findings are recommended to be prepared by staff. After that point in time, the request cannot be withdrawn. Kryzer stated the County Board does not have that same policy. He stated that on 11-13-12 (prior to at least four of the Commissioners coming into Office) the County Board dismissed an ordinance change request after it was recommended for denial by the Planning Commission. He thought there is precedence for the County Board to accept withdrawal at this point in time if they feel that is in order.
Sawatzke said that relative to the Findings, he would like to commend Kryzer. He thought Kryzer was probably very far into the Findings. Sawatzke has read them and find them to be consistent with what the Board ultimately came to as far as the Findings of the Hearings and the process. He referenced the attendance of himself, Husom, and Borrell at the Planning Commission Meetings. They also had an opportunity to read the record of those hearings. He thanked Kryzer for his efforts in coming up with the arguments that he thought the Board was relying on and used to make a recommendation to find Findings for denial. He extended thanks to Mr. Baker for his assistance and the rest of the Planning & Zoning staff. He said this has been a long process. Sawatzke said a couple of weeks ago, he acknowledged the neighbors and the applicant for their approach to the process and how civil it was. At that time, he neglected to thank staff for the outstanding work because there certainly has been a lot of time and hours put into this.
Sawatzke said if they do not approve these Findings today at the request of the applicant, he thought the applicant could come back after one year. He asked if that is the situation no matter what occurs. Kryzer responded that if the Board approves the Findings for denial, the applicant cannot come back for one year unless there is a substantial change to the request. Sawatzke said there was discussion by the applicant about reducing the size from around 300 acres to around 100 acres prior to their last public hearing before the Board. He thought there was consensus that it would not change the argument or the discussion. The Findings of Fact apply equally to either scenario.
Kryzer recommended that the Board adopt a motion allowing for dismissal of the application of Advanced Disposal Rolling Hills Landfill dated December 15. Daleiden made a motion to allow Advanced Disposal Rolling Hill Landfill’s withdrawal of the application for rezoning. The motion was seconded by Husom. Potter said the motion includes accepting the letter dated 4-10-15. The motion carried 5-0.
Kryzer stated that the conditional use permit aspect of this application will be on the 4-23-15 Agenda for formal dismissal. In response to Potter, Kryzer said no action will be taken on the Findings (Item 2 on the Agenda).
On a motion by Daleiden, second by Husom, all voted to approve the 2-04-15 Owners Committee Minutes, as prepared and submitted by the Weidt Group.
On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Husom, all voted to approve the 2-25-15 Owners Committee Minutes, as prepared and submitted by Hagen, Christensen & McIlwain.
At the last County Board Meeting, action was taken to set a Committee Of The Whole Meeting to discuss the Tri-County Lab funding on 4-21-15 at 1:30 P.M., with a backup date of 5-05-15 at 10:30 A.M. Today, Husom stated that 5-05-15 at 10:30 A.M. has been selected as the date for the meeting. Husom made a motion to set the Meeting for 5-05-15 at 10:30 A.M., seconded by Daleiden. The motion carried 5-0.
Advisory Committee/Advisory Board Updates
1. Wright County Law Library. Husom said the Wright County Law Library is the busiest Law Library in the State. Last year they assisted 5,185 people with such things as divorce dissolution, bankruptcy, estate planning, paternity, and probate.
2. Bertram Chain of Lakes. Sawatzke and Daleiden attended a meeting on 4-10-15. Sawatzke said the beach is set to open in June. A grand opening will be held for the new playground, which was created through the generous donations of the Rotary Club and others. Daleiden said that a Joint Powers Agreement is being worked on and will be presented for approval at a future date.
3. Township Officer’s Meeting. Sawatzke, Husom and Borrell attended the Meeting.
4. GRRL. Potter said interviews were held for the Executive Director on 4-09-15. A second round of interviews will be held.
5. I-94. Potter testified at the State Senate on the I-94 Bill to continue the expansion from St. Michael to Albertville. The ultimate goal is to continue the expansion to St. Cloud with the short term goal of reaching Monticello. The impacts on economics and people were discussed, as well as the evacuation route for the Monticello Nuclear Plant. He stated that quite a few members of the Senate did not realize I-94 was part of the evacuation route. Potter said that funding for the first and second rounds of the I-94 project were through the Corridors of Commerce. There is discussion that funding may be available through Corridors of Commerce for $200-$300 million/year for four bienniums. Current projects that are phased in will have top priority.
6. Township Officers Meeting. Borrell attended a Township Officer’s Meeting on 4-09-15. Gene Janikula, Chair of the Woodland Township Board of Supervisors, was recognized for 50 years of service on the Township Board.
Bills Approved
All Wheels Recovery $252.00
Alpha Service Industries Inc 1,250.00
American Tower Corporation 13,020.97
Ameripride Services 830.48
Anderson/Conrad 175.00
Aramark Services Inc 7,583.61
Borrett/Jim 175.00
Brock White Co LLC 205.72
Buffalo Hospital 6,476.86
Buffalo/City of 63,788.36
CDW Government Inc 301.35
Center Point Energy 446.49
Centra Sota Coope - Buffalo 18,756.33
Comm. of Transportation 3,389.40
Cottens Inc 1,884.26
Craguns Corporation 2,236.00
Croteau Plumbing 356.55
Dell Marketing LP 12,445.78
Ehlinger/Michelle 240.50
Frontier Precision Inc 332.25
Gopher State One Call 206.20
Granite Electronics 325.50
Gustafson Trailers 1,000.00
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 360.73
Holiday 12,835.80
Howard/Jolanta 100.00
Internat. Inst. of Bus. Analysis 110.00
Janet Shaddix & Associates 848.60
Johnson/Brian M 220.92
LaPlant Demo Inc 550.83
Law Enforcement Targets Inc 884.15
Marco 2,959.78
Marco Inc 691.00
Martin Marietta Materials 1,234.96
Meeker Coop. Light & Power 848.28
Menards - Buffalo 569.68
Mend Correctional Care LLC 21,831.32
Midwest Protection Agency Inc 868.91
MN Continuing Legal Education 540.00
MN Counties Computer Coop. 14,443.70
MN County Attorneys Assoc. 125.00
MN Recreation & Park Assoc. 100.00
Morrow/Terry 175.00
Neil’s Floor Covering 7,379.14
Net Transcripts Inc 2,596.95
O’Ryans Conoco Marathon 160.00
Office of MN IT Services 2,100.00
Pacific Concepts 635.68
Peterson/Wallace 175.00
Philippi/Chase 218.50
Primary Products Co 2,814.00
Ramacciotti/Frank 200.00
Rasmuson/Anthony 199.00
Royal Tire Inc 1,206.84
Safelite Fulfillment Inc 226.37
Safety Signs 5,000.00
Schreiner/Deborah 140.00
Select Account 1,479.80
State Supply Co 808.58
Stationers Inc 1,256.44
Stoll/Brian 298.00
Streichers 283.89
Timekeeping Systems Inc 1,808.91
Total Printing 575.65
Treichler/Matthew 220.92
Tri-Co Tree Movers 250.00
Triplett/Keith 374.00
Uniforms Unlimited 199.80
Vanderlinden/Michael 175.00
Waste Management of WI-MN 2,429.98
Watson Furniture Group 771.20
Westside Wholesale Tire 386.04
Wright County Journal Press 251.82
31 Payments less than $100 1,548.59
Final total $232,147.37
The meeting adjourned at 10:14 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal May 4, 2015.