Dust, noise and quality of life were the issues brought up at a public hearing regarding changes to the city's mining ordinance. The planning commission held the first round of a two-part public hearing Tuesday on allowing large scale mining on the University of Minnesota's UMore property.
The University of Minnesota has partnered with Dakota Aggregates to mine sand and gravel on 1,250-acres on the western edge of its UMore Park property in Rosemount and Empire Township. The property is bound by Biscayne Avenue, County Road 46, Akron Avenue and County Road 42.
The mining will be done in phases over 40 years. The university will receive royalties from the sale of materials, and proceeds will be placed in its Legacy Fund to support special academic pursuit.
Dakota Aggregates requested the text amendment to make way for the mining. This is the first step in the city's process regarding the operation. If the city approves the text amendment, then Dakota Aggregates will have to apply for a permit.
City planner Eric Zweber said the permitting process will be where details of the proposed operation will start to emerge. However, the amendment sets parameters for large-scale mining.
The text amendment includes restoration requirements, a 350-foot setback from major roadways and landscape berm requirements to mitigate noise and dust levels. It also requires annual permitting, prohibits the use of explosives and sets performance standards, among other things.
Resident Chris Johnson told the planning commission his primary concerns are dust and noise. Johnson said he'd like to see requirements for more landscape berms included in the amendment.
"Our concern is we want to raise our kids in a good environment," said Johnson. "We want to be able to play in the back yard."
Ray Martin suggested more trees north of County Road 42 might help mitigate some of the dust and noise that could come from the mine.
"Extra protection would be valuable," Martin told the commission.
The planning commission voted to continue the public hearing to the March 27 planning commission meeting. At that time commissioners could vote to recommend approval of the text amendment to the city council.
The text amendment can be read on the city's website at ci.rosemount.mn.us.