Columbus to pitch new interim permit to FL Contracting

Residents may support one year of heavy traffic if it completes excavation


Paul Rignell
Columbus Reporter

Columbus City Council members directed staff July 10 to approach Forest Lake Contracting with intent to work out a new interim use permit for the John’s Black Dirt site, on 189th Avenue, where the company holds excavation rights.

Company officials withdrew a request for another interim permit in early June after residential neighbors expressed disfavor with a plan to remove 490,000 cubic yards of materials through a period of 10 years, which could have brought 10 trucks to the site per hour in peak season.

But the June withdrawal kept a conditional use permit in effect, from 1993, which does not include an end date for excavation and has also failed to satisfy neighbors.

Mayor Dave Povolny asked a packed room of residents July 10 if they could agree to heavy truck traffic for up to a year, for the removal of all materials and effectively closing excavation. Most of the audience raised hands for that suggestion, but all arms came down when the mayor asked if the neighbors could live with truck traffic for three years.

Forest Lake Contracting would appear to be restricted from removing any materials from the site for now, as the Wyoming City Council voted June 18 to enact a 5-ton weight limit on certain roads including 250th Street, which connects Columbus’ 189th Avenue with the arterial Kettle River Boulevard.

The south or opposite end of the John’s Black Dirt site is fenced near 186th Avenue and Vassar Street, and trucks would not need to enter Wyoming if an access opened there, but neighbors said those gravel roads are too narrow for passing loaders in peak hours.

“I agree,” Columbus City Council member Bill Krebs said July 10. “Two trucks aren’t passing on that end.”

Columbus officials said they could work to get a new interim use permit for Forest Lake Contracting on the Planning Commission’s agenda Aug. 7 and potential approval by the council Aug. 14, though City Administrator Elizabeth Mursko reported later that the company had not given a response by July 15.