LAKE HALLIE — Nonmetallic mines considering a site in Lake Hallie might be only allowed in areas zoned as a mineral extraction district, under proposed changes to the village’s ordinances.
The Lake Hallie Plan Commission reviewed a list of possible changes at a meeting Monday night.
“It would kick nonmetallic mines out of the agricultural district and into a new district,” according to Doug Clary, Chippewa County planning and zoning administrator. “This could work for you.”
In the draft change, nonmetallic mining would only be allowed in a mineral extraction district created by the village, with an approved use for mines under a certain number of acres in size. All other mines exceeding that size would require a conditional use permitting process.
“I really like the idea of a mineral extraction district,” plan commission member Eloise Rowan said.
“You can control where it’s going,” member Rusty Volk added.
The plan commission has been working on zoning ordinance changes since the Lake Hallie Village Board passed a nine-month moratorium on frac sand and other nonmetallic mining in August 2012. Clary drafted a list of possible ordinance changes for the plan commission to review.
A new addition to the ordinances would be a section on ambient air monitoring, which would include details on the collection, monitoring and reporting process, as well as how the results would be analyzed.
Clary said monitoring systems can be a shared cost with a frac sand company, though the village may have to negotiate with neighboring property owners to allow the monitors on their land.
“It has to be secure. You don’t want anybody messing with it,” he said.
Other monitoring options reviewed by the plan commission include performance standards for noise, lighting and vibrations at property lines. The decision ahead of the plan commission and village board is determining performance standards to write into the ordinances, as well as how to enforce them.
Another important area for the commission was the rail line running along Highway 124, specifically the rail traffic impact from a frac sand company or another industry moving in.
Rowan highlighted that she would like to know how the Chippewa Fire District would adjust to higher rail traffic in case of emergency on the west side of the village, where access can be blocked by rail.
The commission also favored looking into upgrades for rail crossings. In order to qualify for a quiet zone — where trains can’t sound horns — the crossings need arms and flashing lights. However, that upgrade can be expensive.
“Isn’t that usually a cost for the municipality?” Volk questioned.
Clary said it may be something that the village can negotiate with an incoming company.
The plan commission will again take up the draft ordinance changes, adjusted by Clary, at a meeting Feb. 11. Once all of the recommendations are made by the commission, the village board will take up discussion and vote on changes.