May 19, 2005 at 7:13 a.m.
A group of citizens spoke with the Chisago City Council Tuesday night about a stockpile of old roadbed bituminous and concrete that will be crushed and re-cycled. The pile is on the south side of Highway 8 next to Room for Growing, a daycare center.
A supervisor at the daycare center and daycare attendees’ parents voiced their fears of very young children developing respiratory illness from the stockpile being stored adjacent to a daycare center. Dust has settled inside the center and on the outdoor play area. Heavy equipment hauling and dumping have been operating too close to the building for comfort.
The spokesperson for Room for Growing said the children can certainly be kept inside over the estimated four or five days planned for pile crushing, but she said the rubble itself is a hazard with large machinery maneuvering not 20 feet away from the center.
City residents have also complained about run-off from the chunks of old roadway that harbor salt and chemicals and sediment. Others were upset the pile is an attractive nuisance and someone could get seriously hurt playing on or around the rubble. There were also concerns about the noise to be generated when the materials are pulverized.
The stockpile is being managed by Shafer Contracting, under contract with the state Dept. of Transportation.
Shafer Contracting’s Brad Mattson said the company has set up these piles at many other job sites, in major metro areas, and gone about re-use of old roadway materials without any problems. He said MNDOT advised this site would be where the pile would be located.
The Pollution Control Agency permits the crushing process and requires water to be used for dust control, Mattson explained. He said he doesn’t believe there’ll be any more dust created in recycling this pile than what people are basically exposed to daily.
The property was used because it is MNDOT-owned (The lot will be a future road aligned with Sportsmen’s Drive to the north) and because it is centrally-located to the Highway 8 project.
Mattson said the pile will be crushed and trucked out immediately, so there won’t be storage of pulverized material.
Crushing will take place in mid-June for approximately one week, according to Mattson.
Chisago City Council last week directed staff to work with MNDOT and Shafer Contracting to see if the pile could either be moved to the north side of the highway on land owned by the city (across from Sportsmen’s Car Wash) or if the pile could be located in the city industrial park (North of Hwy. 8 on #77)
City Administrator John Pechman said he’d been informed city public nuisance ordinances don’t have regulatory authority over MNDOT operations and that the Attorney General’s Office will not review any claims the pile and the crushing violate city ordinances. Pechman said the best he can probably do is either work out an agreement to use another site or have the crushing done on weekends when the daycare is closed. But then, he added, the neighborhood won’t be too happy with that option.
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