Gravel pit approval angers SE residents

Decisions of the Minot Planning Commission angered residents of a southeast subdivision and disappointed the developer of a project north of Minot, overshadowing a long agenda that largely was noncontroversial Monday.

The commission voted 11-0 to recommend the Minot City Council approve a mining and crushing permit for Sundre Sand & Gravel on land neighboring a housing development southeast of Minot, despite strong objections from area residents.

Dennis Nussbaum, the company’s representative, said Sundre wants to mine aggregates from the location west of 72nd Street southeast, in the area of 20th Avenue, to service the mixed-use 55th Street Crossing project. By mining closer to the project, Sundre can avoid about several miles of truck travel necessary to get from another pit to the project.

Residents were concerned about their quality of life and the health repercussions of the dust.

“I do not want my children inhaling it in any way,” resident Kyle Burckhard said. “Find a different place that doesn’t interfere with us and our neighbors’ health and happiness.”

Sundre representatives noted that the company can avoid mining when wind is out of a problematic direction and can spray down the aggregate to minimize blowing.

Commissioner Travis Zablotney said 55th Street Crossing will be built, so dust and construction equipment are inevitable in the neighborhood. Trucks are going to be moving aggregate, so the best situation is one that minimizes the effect on the most people, he said.

“In the big picture, it makes sense because of the development already going on there,” he said.

The commission recommended approval of a one-year permit came with a number of conditions, from runoff protection and noise limits to minimizing air pollution.

Neighbors voiced concern that their peaceful location would be disrupted for years as Sundre would be back to request more mining phases once work started.

On a separate matter, the commission denied a request from Imperial Homes of Hillsboro, Ore., for Elizabeth Meadows Addition, proposed for north of Minot along U.S. Highway 83. The property is north of Sunset Memorial Gardens at 210-62nd Ave. NW.

Cemetery sextons Jeff and Nancy Schmidt objected to the proposed 20 single-family lots and commercial development.

“People choose Sunset Memorial Gardens for its peaceful and rural setting,” Jeff Schmidt said. “Sunset is concerned for the people that have chosen here for their resting place and that of their loved ones. Someone needs to take this into consideration. … This is not the proper place for this development, and the land should remain agricultural.”

He raised concern that there may not be a market for the homes proposed, given the number of other developments in the area.

“The worst thing that could happen with that piece of property is something gets started and it doesn’t get finished,” he said.

Developer Steve Warneke and engineer Ed Taney described the proposed buffer for the cemetery, access plans off Highway 83 and possible housing styles, which Warneke termed as affordable.

Access was an issue with planning staff because it is limited in the project design. Planning staff had recommended against the project, describing it as premature. The concern is that development of the area as a rural subdivision with two-acre lots and private septic systems will impede future connection to city sewer and water because the larger lots will make it cost prohibitive.

The planning commission voted 11-0 without discussion to deny the subdivision request.