City column: Decisions coming on gravel miningA long process will get longer and even more detailed. But it will help assure that the development will benefit current residents of Rosemount, along with the ones who will be drawn to the city by this project.
Important decisions are coming up for the city of Rosemount on gravel mining proposed for the western one-third of UMore Park. And the public will get to have its say during the process.
A lot has been said already, because it’s been a long process. The University of Minnesota began talking about its plans to develop UMore several years ago. It wants to build a development that looks to the future, breaking new ground for technology and sustainability. And it could someday be the home to 20,000 to 30,000 new residents in and near Rosemount.
To finance it, the University wants to start by mining the gravel that is deposited near the surface of part of its property. Gravel is a valued and increasingly scarce resource for construction activities in the Twin Cities, and the deposits at UMore are high quality. Tapping that source will make the development of UMore affordable for the U.
It was a year and a half ago that the University released an environmental impact statement for gravel mining, along with some preliminary plans for how it would occur. The city, the county and residents near UMore studied the plans and gave their comments.
In the past month, the contractor that plans to carry out the mining, Dakota Aggregates, held a couple of open houses for residents. The firm showed significant changes in the proposed operations from the original rough plans.
The latest concepts show a larger buffer area near existing neighborhoods to the north of the mining. Operations closest to those neighborhoods will be limited to 15 years. The revised concept also proposes a limit on how much land will be mined at the same time and where trucks can enter and leave the property.
Many of the residents who attended the meetings said the changes have improved the project. But there will be more opportunities for questions and comments now that the city is beginning a formal review.
The first step would be to approve a new city ordinance to permit mining at this site. The planning commission will hold a hearing on a draft of the ordinance at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28 at city. Interested members of the public are encouraged to attend.
If the city council approves an ordinance, the planning commission will schedule a second public hearing on a mining permit, probably late this spring. It will include detailed specifications of how mining operations will be conducted.
So, a long process will get longer and even more detailed. But it will help assure that the development will benefit current residents of Rosemount, along with the ones who will be drawn to the city by this project. We will do all we can so that change at UMore is a change for the better, for all of us.