Town chair changes mind about city annexing sand mine site; Mayor appoints committee to draft sand mine ordinance

GLENWOOD CITY — An announcement by Joe Draxler, Chairman of the Town of Glenwood surprised many of the people attending the regular meeting of the City Council Monday evening. Draxler said he now favors the city annexing land from the township that is the site of proposed silica sand mine.

At question is about 400 acres of land owned by Scott Teigen and Robert Crosby, Jr. located just south of the present city limits.

 At a special meeting of the City Council on February 25, when it was first learned that the city might be asked to annex that property, Draxler, along with about 60 other people attended the meeting. Draxler stated that he was one hundred percent against the city annexing that land from the township. But as of this time the city has not received any petition for annexing that land.

But, at Monday’s City Council meeting Draxler praised Mayor John Larson for his letter in the newspaper last week and stated; “it would be in the best interest of the community if that land is annexed into the city.” He continued saying, “We don’t want this run from the other side of the county.” What he was referring to is that if the land stays in the township and a mine does apply for permitting, then it would be a matter for St. Croix County officials and Draxler said; “I am disappointed with the county.”

Draxler continued by talking about local control over the operation of a mine. “If we have local concerns, they can be addressed locally,” he told the council.

But local business owner, Jim Laskin, asked the council to stay the course and let the county handle it. “It would be worthwhile to talk to the people in St. Croix County, they have the experience and have permitted mines within one and four miles of this community,” Laskin said. He also stated that the city should look at other areas with mines and see what their ordinances are.

The last item on the council meeting agenda was to discuss possible action on a non-metallic mining ordinance and at this time Mayor Larson asked members of the council if they had received and reviewed the ordinances on non-metallic mining that he had sent to them. He indicated that they should have a copy of the St. Croix County and Dunn County ordinances plus some from other municipalities. Council member David Graese stated that most of the ordinances he reviewed reflect what was contained in the draft ordinance that the council had looked at during a special meeting on April 18th.

After some discussion the mayor created a committee to draw up an ordinance and hopefully have it ready for the June council meeting. The mayor appointed all members of the city council plus other members of the plan commission who are Tom Stack, Mark Oberhelman, and Brian Cress plus Ken Peterson, Shawn DeWitt and Joe Hill. The council voted four to two to approved these appointments with members Crystal Booth and Ben DeGross voting against the appointments. After the meeting Booth and DeGross explained that they would like to have seen more outside people on that committee and DeGross expressly wanted someone that is opposed to the sand mine on that committee.

The mayor set the committee working right away with their first meeting next Monday evening at 6:30 at the Community Center. “Hopefully they can complete the task in two meetings,” the mayor said.