My wife and I own a farm next to the Skyline mining expansion recently approved by the Houston County Board. We buy gravel for our road and fully appreciate its importance to the county.
But this was the wrong project in the wrong place approved for all the wrong reasons. From start to finish, the process was marred by deception, conflicts of interest and incompetence. For example, a Planning Commission member who had recused himself at the start of the public hearing, ended up voting a number of times by the end of it.
This mine is already a bad neighbor. It has violated our set-back, blasted boulders onto our tillable acreage and left a 100-foot sheer cliff that’s eroding and threatens to drag some of our land into the pit.
Water has been released that flooded our neighbor’s home and ran into the nearby trout stream — drawing the official ire of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
But instead of sanctioning the mining company, Commissioners Teresa Walter, Scott Connor and Fred Arnold decided to violate the county Land Use Plan, ignore the Zoning Ordinance and let this company dig up 40 more acres along a scenic stretch of County 5 near Camp Winnebago.
Commissioner Walter seemed impatient and made the motion to approve.
Kudos to Commissioners Jack Miller and Justin Zymewski. They understand that industrializing our bluffs won’t attract tourists or homebuyers.
Michael Fields, Caledonia