Panel OKs permit, plat

NEW ULM — The Brown County Planning Commission unanimously approved a conditional use permit application to renew an existing gravel pit to allow for a gravel mining operation to include extraction, crushing and processing in Section 12, Milford Township Jan. 17.

The action came after a condition of adequate dust control with calcium chloride and water by the operator was added, following a discussion.

Stephen Vescelus of New Ulm, who lives near the end of North Broadway, near the gravel mining operation operated by M R Paving & Excavating, said dust, which contains silica, is at times significant from another nearby pit.

“The dust contains silica which is a carcinogen. As the wind blows, that’s what we breathe,” Vescelus said, handing information out to commissioners to back up his statement.

“That’s from a mine in the city limits, which we don’t have jurisdiction over,” said Brown County Zoning Administrator Laine Sletta.

Brown County Commissioner Scott Windschitl, who also lives near the mining operations, said a neighbor called him voicing concerns about the need to water calcium chloride frequently after it is spread on gravel roads to control dust.

“My concern is crushing in the pit that’s in a residential area,” Windschitl said.

“In 1996, the area was mostly agriculture, but that isn’t so now. It’s paramount to keep the dust down,” Vescelus said.

Jeff Carlson of M R Paving, who applied for the permit, said the gravel mining use in the pits depends on the number of projects being done.

“We’ll crush there off and on. We did that about 20 days last year,” Carlson said. “The City (of New Ulm) adds chloride to Boundary Street and we chloride the road to the pit. When the road gets dry, chloride must be activated with water. Call us if you have a problem. We have water trucks.”

Commissioner Brian Tohal said he felt dust control must be added as a condition to the permit application. Commissioner Brian Braun agreed. The three-year permit application recommendation as approved, will be considered by Brown County Commissioners at 11 a.m., Jan. 23.

By a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Braun dissenting, commissioners approved a single-lot split application by Timothy Peterson on 3.38 acres of property owned by the Mae L. Tande Testamentary Trust in Section 32, Albin Township. The parcel being platted is an existing building site being split off from tilled ground.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at