Annexation process underway for sand mining company

By: 
Jill Meier, Journal editor
Submitted rendering
Property along the north side of West Holly Boulevard will be minded for sand starting next year.
Great Bear Sand and Gravel, LLC, will begin mining sand inside the city limits of Brandon starting in 2021, despite resident concerns of increased traffic, noise and dust.
 
Risty Family Partnership submitted the application for annexation of the property into the city limits, after which it will be sold to Great Bear Sand and Gravel, LLC, with the intent of operating as a sand mine for the next seven to 10 years. At that time, Great Bear Sand and Gravel intends to develop the property for high-density residential and commercial uses.
 
“For the public’s sake or concern, I’ve had a couple of questions on this project and as I’ve tried to email to the residents that have contacted me on this, this is a project that is not currently in the city limits of Brandon,” Mayor Paul Lundberg said. “They are petitioning to annex into the city limits, trying to be a good corporate partner I’ll say, or a good neighbor partner, and the revenue that they generate would be subject to Brandon’s city sales tax, so we would generate revenue from that.”
 
Lundberg warned that if council denied the annexation, the project would move forward under Minnehaha County’s watch.
 
“The county would have jurisdiction over it, so it would move forward either way,” Lundberg said. “The city of Brandon doesn’t have a lot of jurisdiction over this whole thing. It appears like we do. … We are bringing them into the city to try and recoup the sales tax on a project that is going to happen whether we do or we don’t, in my opinion.”
 
City administrator Bryan Read said if Great Bear Sand and Gravel remained in the county, as a neighboring property owner, the city would receive notice from the county for any rezoning or conditional use permit needs.
 
Although the council gave its blessing to Resolution #22-20, which begins the annexation process, Read said there are additional steps to be taken by Great Bear Sand and Gravel. Those steps include public hearings before the Planning and Zoning Commission and the city council both, along with two readings of the ordinance amending the zoning code.
 
“The next step then would be the consideration of a conditional use permit by the P&Z Commission, and that’s where if the city has concerns over the operation of the facility, they can place conditions on that permit,” Read said. “I don’t want to speculate what those will be now, but we can certainly talk with the applicant at that point in time that these are the concerns we’re hearing, and are you agreeable to the conditions we’ve placed on it. So, there’s at least three more public hearings involved with the project.”
 
Mayor Lundberg stressed Great Bear Sand and Gravel wants to be a good neighbor to the city and vice versa.
 
“This is not going to be shut down by the city of Brandon once it gets annexed in, that I can assure you. We will address certain concerns but it’s going to be sand mining, so there are going to be trucks … and we’ll do the best we can on this whole thing,” he said.
 
In early August, the council approved a concept plan submitted by Great Bear Sand and Gravel. The property will need to be rezoned to heavy industrial, followed by the passage of a conditional use permit to allow mining activity. The rezoning process requires two public hearings as well as two readings of the ordinance amending the zoning code. The conditional use process requires one public hearing.

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