February 11, 2010 at 8:43 a.m.
A closer look at recommendations
Citizens unanimous behind seven issues sent to County Commissioners
The group of nine appointees considered "action items" where they took a vote on a motion for something specific; like requiring money to be escrowed to reclaim the site should the power plant ever be abandoned. The group unanimously supported seven of these 18 items to be included into an eventual development agreement.
Items the advisory group unanimously supports include:
A contract with building trades groups to require construction workers be from this area and for a policy calling for "responsible bids" from subcontractors.
The group unanimously supports offering a "tax reduction" (special taxing district) to properties within three miles of the proposed power plant site.
Having LS Power pay for an independent engineering analysis of noise and vibration standards prior to construction and for two years after the electric station opens.
The Public Utilities Commission be required to apply its regular certificate of need and permitting process to this and the project must be in full compliance with MN Environmental Review Act.
Payments by LS Power in lieu of the personal property tax should be adjusted in the future by an "accelerator" based on an agreed upon percentage.
Pipes and lines should be in existing rights-of-way, unless private parties agree to use of their land or --the motion reads-- if consistent with the PUC.
Plant operations must not interfere with surrounding telecommunications, television, radio, etc. The applicant will restore any loss of reception or transmission brought to its attention.
On 8-1 votes the Advisory Group seeks to have the acess road to the plant moved to come off of County Road #14 where Kable Avenue connects. A lighted intersection is preferred. At this time the road LS Power has sketched in affects Chisago Lake Township North and necessitates a turn for trucks at #15, which task force members thought was less safe.
Purchase of landscaping plant stock and other materials/labor should be from Chisago County plant nurseries and landscaping companies.
There were three items supported on 7-2 votes: require LS Power to post a bond to enforce any performance issues in the development agreement, money to be set aside for possibly decommissioning or reclamation of the plant site if it is no longer in use, and to require an Environmental Impact Statement.
As for the personal property tax exemption issue the vote was 8-1 to allow the exemption by the legislature with the host agreement and current development agreements adopted by the Lent Town Board and North Branch School Board and with the action items brought forth by the Advisory Task Force, with priority given based on the group's votes.