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Council will vote on mining permit in November

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The Rosemount City Council reviewed a request for a large scale mineral extraction permit last week during its work session and the issue will next go to the Nov. 20 city council meeting for final approval.

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By time the issue got to the city council the planning commission had done much of the leg work in tailoring the permit to ensure the city has some protections. The main issues that have come up are sound, dust, traffic and water quality.

Dakota Aggregates plans to mine 590 acres of land south of County Road 42, north of Country Road 46, east of Biscayne and west of Akron Avenue. The site will have 130 acres set aside on the north end as buffer to the Bloomfield and Enclave neighborhoods. Dakota Aggregates is a subsidiary of Cemstone and Ames Construction.

The two issues that came to light during the work session were concerns about water quality and hours of operation for Dakota Aggregates. Planning commisioner Vanessa Demuth has continuously brought up concerns about mining below the water table, which Dakota Aggregates plans to do. She sent a letter to the council further expressing her concerns that the mining could lead to the need for an expensive water treatment facility.

Dakota Aggregates plans to wet mine part of the property. The result will be a groundwater-fed lake. Future plans will see the lake used for recreations purposes. Because the lake would expose the ground water, it could mean the ground water in the area around it will have special treatment considerations.

City planner Eric Zweber said the need for a water treatment facility would only arise if there are wells within a certain distance of the lake. He said the city will put in wells as development demands. He said the city can locate wells elsewhere if needs to.

"To say we're going to put in this lake and then we are going to need a water treatment plant is going from A to Z," said Zweber.

City engineer Andy Brotzler added that there will be vigorous stormwater treatments to go with the lake.

The other issue of note to come up during the work session was the hours that Dakota Aggregates will be able to operate. The company originally requested to operate 24 hours a day. Because the operation is new and concerns aren't known yet, Zweber said city staff feels more comfortable with a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. schedule

Dakota Aggregates revised its request to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. Operations will be suspended on Sunday. Those hours would allow two eight-hour shifts

Dakota Aggregates representative Tim Becken said the company really needs the two shifts to be economical. Additionally, he said the company has seen a significant demand in after hours projects and the additional time will allow Dakota Aggregates to better serve its customers.

"We think it's a reasonable request," said Becken.

City council members agreed and said they would go along with the longer hours of operation. However if complaints do come up, the council has the option of reducing the hours during its annual permitting process.

Over the next month Zweber said the he will follow up with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on the company's Environmental Contigency Plan and its Air Quality Permit. Those items will be part of the final approval of the permit.

Overall, Zweber said he feels comfortable moving forward with the permit and said the company has worked hard to address concerns brought up by both the city and residents.

"There's not a lot of thing unresolved," said Zweber.

If Dakota Aggregates is granted the permit they could begin mining operations in an area titled Sub-Phase 1A. The approximately 25-acre area is located northwest of Station Trail/County Road 46. Berming will be built along 46 to screen the operation from the road.

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Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
(651) 460-6606
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