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Final vote for solid waste ordinance on the horizon

After another wait, the Mower County board is scheduled to finally vote on its revised solid waste ordinance during a special meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday in the basement board room of the Mower County Government Center, 210 First St. NE, Suite 9.

The county board was slated to vote May 2, but it delayed the decision after new questions arose about odors for neighboring homeowners and which plots of a landfill would be grandfathered in under the old law.

“We’ve been working on this for two years and want to get it right,” Commissioner Mike Ankeny said earlier this month.

Creating a new ordinance was sparked when the county was approached by SKB Environmental, which operates two landfills in Lansing Township. The company is seeking the creation of a new landfill to handle municipal waste. The county did not want to address the issue until a new ordinance, that would address all issues related to landfills and solid waste, was created.

However, SKB officials brought new information to the board on May 2, stating that part of the landfill bought from the former Veit Solid Waste Facility had permitting to be grandfathered in under the ordinance. That raised concerns because of its proximity to a residence.

And a homeowner raised questions about odors from the facility, which SKB officials said was from leach aid being removed from the former Veit land.

But board members expressed interest in learning more, as it’s the first time such an issue was brought directly to them.

After SKB initially expressed interest in accepting municipal waste a few years ago, the board approved a moratorium on solid waste requests to update its old ordinance, which dates to the 1990s.

That moratorium expires May 24.

The board held a public hearing last month on the ordinance, and it made a few tweaks earlier this month based on discussions at those meetings.

Given the current ordinance dates to the early 1990s, the board is still expected to approve the new ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting.

The board will most likely take three actions: approve the Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR), approve the ordinance, and approve the fee structure.

The new document is over 160 pages and has been studied and written over the past two years. Jurisdiction, licensing, transporting, abatement, storage, landfills, composting and other scenarios are all covered in the new document. Attorney Scott Anderson and consultant Dave Lucas of Sherburne County joined county staff, planning and zoning, commissioners, and members of the solid waste committee, in creating the new ordinance.