UPDATED: Glenwood City Council Considers Adopting Mining Ordinance at April 18, 2013 Meeting

(first published on WIvoices.org)

UPDATED: 4/19/13

“No action was taken,” in reference to a new nonmetallic mining ordinance for the city, explained the Glenwood City Clerk. Both the existing and the new proposed mining ordinances are slated to be discussed at the next regular council meeting on May 6, 2013.

In the meantime, there was a discussion about a joint citizen/city council group forming in order to take a more collaborative look at the contentious issue of frac sand mining in their community.

Even though a late blizzard inundated the area with freezing rain and sleet, the meeting still drew between 30-40 community members. Thomas Quinn, a board member from neighboring Dunn County, reportedly offered examples of his county’s nonmetallic mining ordinance as a reasonable example for Glenwood City to consider moving forward.

The council listened to concerned citizens before deciding to table the issue.

Original Post: 4/15/13

Mayor John Larson has confirmed that the City has authorized the Bakke Norman Law Firm from New Richmond and Menomonie to draft a new nonmetallic mining ordinance for Glenwood City. A special meeting, open to the public, is scheduled for April 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm at the Community Center in Glenwood City, WI.

City clerk Shari Rosenow explained that the agenda has not yet been set for this special session of the city council. However, potential items on the agenda include “discussion of possible action to approve a new nonmetallic mining ordinance” and “discussion of possible action to repeal existing nonmetallic mining ordinance”.

Locals Scott Teigen and members of the Crosby family are co-applicants with Texas company Vista Sand. In the summer of 2012, the initial Special Exemption application was submitted for approval through St. Croix County to allow operation of a frac sand mine ¼ mile from the public school. However, County staff has determined the application to be incomplete at this time. WI Voices previously interviewed St. Croix County’s Land Use and Conservation Specialist, Alex Blackburn, who has now explained that the county is “still working with Vista Sand on getting the required information.”

At a special meeting in February (shown in the video), Teigen explained that they were still pursuing the County application. However, as a “Plan B” they are requesting that Glenwood City annex the property and assume control of the frac sand mine permitting process. Teigen estimated that the direct benefit to the city could be up to $250,000 annually and potentially 50-60 jobs. Glenwood City Mayor John Larson advised the City Council, “Are all mines run right? No… But I think it can be done right and this body needs to at least take that into consideration.”

Some area residents are concerned that this move by the city may be a step toward authorizing the controversial “Vista Mine”. Small business owner Jim Laskin is troubled by the speed with which the city is moving on this is issue. Calling annexation ““flat-out irresponsible”, he questions “Why, exactly, is Glenwood City in a better position to monitor a 500 acre open-pit silica sand mine and processing facility than the county that has to have 100 times the resources of little Glenwood City?”

Town of Glenwood County Supervisor Barry Peterson also commented on the April 18 meeting, “I’m concerned about the annexation. The potential zoning ordinance (under consideration by the City Council) seems like it is a little weak and we may need to be adopting a more thorough ordinance.”

WI Voices has been closely following this community issue. Get up to speed with timeline below:
• 2/25/13 “Inside a Town Meeting on Frac Sand Mining; Glenwood City, WI
• 1/24/13-2/26/13 “County Official Comments on Proposed Frac Sand Mine
• 9/20/12 “Frac Sand Mine Proposed Near School

Want more info? WIvoices.org Reference Document

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