Planning and Zoning Regular Meeting

March 21, 2013 5:30 pm

Attending: Caleb Davis, Mike Weland, Ron Self, John Cranor, John Moss, Bruce Behrman, Marciavee Cossette. Absent: Steve Shelman. Staff, Dan Studer.

5:30 Matt Cossalman opened the meeting and reviewed the evenings agenda.

Cossalman asked Commissioners if there were any changes to the minutes of February; Weland motion to adopt as presented, second by Ron Self, no discussion, motion passed unamimously.

5:33 Cossalman began to read the script for public hearing process, and at 5:35 opened the meeting to public hearing 13-009 Application for Conditional Use Permit by Wink, Inc. for a rock crushing and gravel extraction commercial operation east of Moyie Springs. Cossalman read through considerations Section 7.7.3.

Applicant Alan Winkelseth began with his opening comments, reviewing his plan. Alan said his plan for a 100 foot buffer gives up 13 acres of land. He stressed the need for more competion to lower the cost for these materials. He added that the Federal and State laws imposed on his operation are very strict and compliance is enforced. Alan explained that this will be a small operation, and it will take many years (~30 years) to remove the gravel resources there.

Studer gave a Staff Report, and read comprehensive plan provisions applicable to Rural Residential lands.

Cossalman asked for public comment, there was no one present who spoke in favor of the application.

One party, Philip Sweet, spoke neutral about the application. Phil lives to the west of this property, and expressed concern over noise. He has concern that 100 ft. buffer is enough, and 6 am to 6pm hours of operation – 8 to 4pm better. Phil said there are pits two miles east and on the Eileen road, along with Woods pit and the state and county pits. He also was concerned that Twin Rivers Road may get torn up. How big and deep the pit became was a concern, also.

Cossalman asked for any opposed comments, there were none. Matt asked for closing comments from Winkelseth. Alan said hours of crushing from 8 to 4 was ok. He said Jeff Gutshall of R&B okayed the road access to Twin Rivers, and he may close the road to hauling during breakup. The road is old Highway 2 and is in good condition. Alan estimated he would be taking 20,000 ft of material per year, so it would likely take 5 years to take up 10 acres of area. He will plan on no blasting. His use will be based on demand for the material. Alan acknowledged the impact this operation will have on the land and stated he is committed to work with his neighbors.

John Cranor addressed water trucks being available for dust abatement.

Cossette addressed reclamation, and the number of years it will take to complete it due to the size of the project.

Cossalman addressed the visual impact to neighbors. The site is visible from Highway 2, less from Twin Rivers Road. It will be a number of years before natural regeneration reaches a height to block the view.

Road and Bridge had no problems with road access and county road use. It was suggested to use one way entrance and exit approaches.

John Moss addressed the potential impact on wildlife, concerns people in the area wrote in comments submitted. The pit itself will have little effect. The entrances will be gated but no fences are planned.

Cossalman questioned whether the area may attract children, as a playground.

Self asked about the Tribe comments about the pit; there was no letter, and Alan said he asked and they were neutral, not wishing to take one side or the other. Questions regarding the Stippich pit east towards Montana indicate that Stippich requires blasting, this pit doesn't. Questions about the availability of material and the need for the resource were discussed.

Self made a motion to reopen the meeting to public input. Second by Caleb Davis; following discussion the motion passed unanimously.

Those for:

Travis Manly-Smith, Moyie Springs, testified he was in the landscaping business and he verified the need for gravel material and the current scarcity – and the need for him to source cheaper material and more competition. He also commented the impact on wildlife he felt would be low.

Sam Fodge, Bonners Ferry, echoed the previous testimony, and commented that Stippich is in favor of this application. Also, the county road was a US Highway and handled large trucks and busses over many years. He finished emphasizing the need for gravel resources.

Those neutral:

Philip Sweet, Moyie Springs, commented that this year the county road will have less use because the hatchery RV park will be under construction, but warned that next year there is a lot of large RV traffic and recreational traffic on that road. Sweet made clear he was not opposed to small pits, however, he was very against large pits, especially if they created very deep holes.

Cossalman asked what size/depth he felt would be acceptable? Sweet indicated 15 ft. is okay; 40 feet is too deep. 10 acres is okay, but not right up to his property boundary on the West side.

Those against: none

Rebuttal: Winkelseth said the purchase of the portion of the Messenbrink property is contingent on the outcome of this application decision. Because of the amount of land lost to the 100 foot buffer he plans to mine all other acres eventually. He may consider a 150 foot buffer on the West side of the property adjoining Sweets property.

Discussion: Behrman commented on county road used by heavy trucks and busses continuously for years. He verified his own observation that resources are becoming more and more limited. Rock crushers are much quieter now, and the reverse beeping safety horn is usually the most annoying noise experienced at these sites.

Cossalman emphasized the need for the resource by all people who build in this county due to the abundant rainfall, snow and mud. Cossalmans vision for the county is to have many small gravel sources which lowers transportation cost and increases competition.

Cranor mentioned that the design of having a 100 foot buffer enhanced with an additional berm of topsoil and the slope requirement for rehabilitation will also effectively reduce noise.

Discussion finished, Weland motion to approve the conditional use permit application with the following conditions: There will be required a 100 foot buffer; crushing shall be limited to a 60 day window per year and operations will occur between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm., dust abatement shall occur during these operations; regular hours of operation will be Monday through Saturday 6 am to 6 pm.

Second by Caleb Davis, no discussion; the vote was unanimous.

Cossalman closed the meeting at 6:43 pm.

At 6:50 pm Cossalman reopened the regular meeting for the agenda item, discussion of Comprehensive Plan Amendment.

Plan edits were reviewed, and Cossalman went over Chapter 14.

Davis motion to adjourn at 7:43 pm, second by Self, passed.

Dan Studer