The owners of the Winnebago Quarry in Houston County are seeking to expand their operations but a Houston County Board member wants longstanding problems at the site addressed first.
The quarry has been operating for years without a permit on a 6.4 acre site east of County Road 5 south of Caledonia.
County records note that the mine has previously been issued a notice of violation by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency after rains washed sediment off the site and into neighboring areas.
Skyline Materials, which owns the quarry, is seeking to expand it by about 27 acres by asking for a permit for the site. The quarry had been allowed to operate as a “legal non-conforming use” but with a view to expanding the operation the owners are now seeking to get a permit. Questions have been raised by opponents of the quarry about whether it should have been allowed to operate for so long without a permit.
The county’s planning commission was set to meet and possibly take action on the application for a permit Thursday after press time for the Houston County News. The commission could recommend to the county board that a permit be approved or denied. The county board will then make the final decision.
Board chairman Fred Arnold, who was recently appointed to serve on the planning commission, said he was unsure on how he would vote on the permit. He noted that new quarries or mines in Houston County must have a permit to operate but the Winnebago quarry had been “grandfathered in” without a permit.
Board member Justin Justin Zmyewski, who used to sit on the plan commission but stood down to be replaced by Arnold, said he would want issues with the existing mine to be resolved by Skyline before he could back an expansion of the quarry. Those issues include concerns about erosion at the quarry, that have drawn numerous protests from neighbors and others at county board meetings.