Environmental Assessment Worksheet complete for county development projectThe public will soon get a more detailed look at a proposed business park/housing development along Highway 210 in Carlton, currently under development by Carlton County.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
The public will soon get a more detailed look at a proposed business park/housing development along Highway 210 in Carlton, currently under development by Carlton County.
Pat Oman, Carlton County economic development director, told commissioners at their Monday meeting this week that an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) was recently completed on the project. He said its findings will be presented before the County Planning Commission on Wednesday, Nov. 7, and then before the Carlton County Board on Tuesday, Nov. 13. Oman said there will then be a 30-day public comment period before the project can move on to the next phase.
Purchased in 2004 at a price of $800,000 by the county Economic Development Authority (EDA), the proposed plan for the 225-acre site delineates different areas for future business sites, public facilities, multi-family and single-family residential lots and park and recreational areas. The existing Munger Trail runs along the southern edge of the property, while the Burlington Northern Railway line runs along the northern border.
Oman said thus far the major tasks completed in planning the proposed development – in addition to the purchase of the property – include a housing/business park analysis, survey and mapping of the property, wetland delineation and approval by the county’s technical evaluation panel and most recently, the completion of the EAW.
Oman reported the current investment in the proposed business park/housing development project is over $1 million, paid for through the county’s economic development fund. Administered by the county Economic Development Authority, the fund receives an annual infusion of dollars from the state of Minnesota’s IRRRB, and also through administering economic development loans and managing grant programs (such as the Small City Development Grant program). He stressed that no local tax levy dollars have yet been utilized on the project.
The EAW is a document designed to provide a brief analysis and overview of the potential environmental impacts for the Carlton County Business Park/Housing Development project.
“The EAW assists Carlton County to determine whether an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is necessary, and how the project can be modified to lessen its environmental impacts,” Oman said.
The EAW consists of a standard list of 31 questions and is meant to set out the basic facts of this particular project’s environmental impacts. Examples of questions answered include: land use; adjacent land use compatibility; environmental hazards from past land use; fish, wildlife, and ecologically sensitive resources; soil conditions; and traffic.
The county prepared the EAW for the project with assistance from Short Elliot Hendrickson (SEH), an engineering firm from Duluth with whom the county entered into a contract to help guide the development process of the project.
Following the upcoming discussion of the EAW and the ensuing public comment period, the county board will make a final decision as to whether to proceed. If they do, Oman said the platting of the development would likely begin before the end of the year, at which time the conceptual design becomes permanent. If the project receives the go ahead, he said, construction is slated to get under way in 2013.