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City approves permit for town of RF sand mine

Both the city of River Falls and the town of River Falls recently approved a special use permit for a sand mining operation on land owned by Peterson Family Real Estate LLC. The land to be mined, W10322 Highway 29, is in the jurisdiction of both the town of River Falls and the city of River Falls' extraterritorial zone.

The City Council approved the permit at its Tuesday, Aug. 8, regular meeting.

Total Excavating would mine sand on an area of less than 10 acres, and would extract, crush, and screen sand material. Sand will be removed on an on-demand basis.

Chris Kusilek is the developer taking the sand off the property and Matt Hieb is the consulting engineer, said City Planner Tony Steiner.

The land in question is zoned for exclusive agriculture, so a special use permit was needed.

Kusilek said now that the special use permit has been approved, the mining should be able to start in the next couple weeks.

Kusilek said the mine will probably be used for at least the next 10 years. After that, it will be converted back to farmland. The mine will produce fine grained and coarser grained sand for a variety of uses, from building commercial or residential buildings to any other use.

It could also be used as a sand fill for backfilling roads, or for housing and commercial buildings.

Kusilek said people in the neighborhood of the mine won't likely notice much of anything different once the mining starts.

Steiner said the mine is located at the edge of the city's extraterritorial zone, outside of the urban area boundary.

"The traffic generated will be minimal," Steiner said. "It will have no noticeable impact on the City."

In their application for the permit, Kusilek and Total Excavating addressed various concerns, including environmental..

The mining was not proposed to be within the groundwater elevation area.

According to the proposal submitted to the City Council, subsurface silt, loam, and fine sand materials are reported in the area. The deposits extend below the proposed mining depth, but the developers plan to limit that depth for future land use.

No legally protected species or wetlands were identified in the area.

Once the land has been mined out, the land would be used for agriculture and farming operations, including possible expansion of a barn on site.

According to the proposal, topsoil will be stored, seeded and mulched on site. Then it will be replaced on reclaimed areas of the land to be mined. The reclaimed land will be seeded and stabilized.

Stormwater and erosion control measures planned include seeding and mulching disturbed slopes and a silt fence, and other measures to prevent erosion runoff.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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