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Bauerly receives permit to mine gravel near Kimball

After much deliberation, the Stearns County Planning Commission approved a 20-year interim use permit for Bauerly Companies. The Sauk Rapids-based company purchased 51.90 acres to the east of Kimball (just west of the Clearwater River and on the north side of Highway 55) because the land holds a rich store of gravel, a much needed commodity in Minnesota for building roads. Since that purchase nearly two years ago, residents of neighboring properties and elsewhere in the township and county have vigorously protested the proposed gravel mining operation there. One major setback for Bauerly was when the Planning Commission required the company to do a detailed environmental impact statement, claiming that the shorter EAW (environmental assessment worksheet) did not sufficiently address concerns about the environment and possible Indian artifacts in the area. Bauerly appealed this decision and on March 19 of this year the Planning Commission removed the requirement for an EIS. At their meeting on Nov. 21, the Planning Commission failed to pass a motion approving the interim use permit. The Planning Commission was unable to come to a final decision on the permit until last Thursday, Dec. 19. After several 4-4 votes, it seemed they were at an impasse again. However, if they were still unable to either approve or deny the interim use permit for gravel mining on that property, Bauerly's request for the permit would have automatically been granted on Dec. 27 - with no controls or conditions whatsoever. In order to maintain some control of the operation, they finally voted 5-3 to approve the permit. CONDITIONS IMPOSED  An interim use permit to mine gravel on 30+ acres of this property was granted subject to the conditions listed below. (This list came directly from the Planning Commission on Dec. 23.) o Hours of operation are limited to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, including start-up time and maintenance, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, including start-up time and maintenance time, with no operations or maintenance on holidays. o A $10,000 performance bond is required for reclamation per phase. o In order to address the potential for archaeologically significant artifacts, the property owner [Bauerly] will hire an independent archaeologist to meet with Environmental Services staff on-site as each of the four phases of the operation are being developed. Property owners will provide training to staff prior to any excavation at the site. o Operations at the site will adhere to the timber harvesting, reforestation, reclamation and dust control plan. o Property owners will keep a formal complaint log that will be shared with Environmental Services once a year. o The interim use permit will expire in 2022 (20 years). o A sign not to exceed 32 square feet with name and phone number of property owner shall be posted at entrance of property. o The entrance shall be gated. o No more than 11 acres shall be actively mined at one time. o Orange snow fence shall be placed at the locationof active banks at the end of each working season. o No materials other than recycled asphalt pavement will be allowed to be brought on site for crushing. o Revise the oak wilt and dutch elm disease plan to state that no harvesting or pruning of trees will be done between the dates of March 30 and Oct. 1 of any given year. o Trees will be planted on berm adjacent to the Hendricks property. BAUERLY'S PLANS  Because of this being a holiday week (and our early print schedule), we were unable to reach the person at Bauerly who best would be able to explain what their schedule of activity will be in the upcoming months. One thing is clear, however: if they are to begin mining gravel this spring or summer, they will need to clear trees in those areas before March 30, so we likely will see some activity there this winter.