November 26, 2018
Conditional Use Permit for second Grain Bin
I hope the residents feel heard through the process of approving the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for Red Wing Grain LLC. There were several meetings in quick succession for this CUP.
Advisory Planning Commission meeting on October 16, residents at the City Council meeting on October 22, attending the Neighborhood Meeting on November 8, and the City Council meetings on November 13 and 26, 2018.
The main concerns I heard from residents were the following:
From fans of bunker from fall to spring and longer: A bin will reduce the use of the bunker except in unusual years.
Trucks: RWPD will need to help reduce the illegal use of engine (jake) braking
Noise of conveyor: reduced with reduction of bunker
Alarm noise: Red Wing Grain will need to address this more promptly
Increase in noise, possibly due to echoing noise: remains a concern of mine. Hopefully the other reductions will offset any increase in this area if there is any increase in echoing.
Height: The height of the original proposed bin was too high and more of an eye sore. Height was reduced.
Concerns about an increase in traffic (safety): Hwy 61 is a major corridor and the city including RWPD will need to continue conversations about how to keep this area safe.
Dust: Reduced with reduction of the bunker.
Lighting: Red Wing Grain LLC will address down lighting on their building and reduce use of lights on the conveyors.
Weighing the issue in summary:
I acknowledge that the first bin does interrupt the visual landscape for those neighbors and value that they don’t want a second taller bin. The bunker was identified as the cause of most of the concerns the residents identified. The bunker is also the cause of more of the dust and conveyor noise. Therefore, it’s my hope that the best solution to the residents’ concerns was approving the second bin and therefore reducing the use of the bunker, which remains the cause of most of the issues stated above. This solution does help support Red Wing Grain as a business in our community, and while the city has a responsibility to support our businesses and Red Wing Grain LLC has a history of working with the City downtown, we have to meet the residents’ needs first and foremost.
It’s for sure an imperfect solution and relies on Red Wing Grain LLC in addressing lighting, alarms, reducing the use of the bunker (only in rare years, less frequently than is the current pattern), and being better neighbors now that they know what the concerns are.
It was a tough decision and I hope the residents feel heard. I was certainly listening.