The Farmington Town Board selected committee members September 9 to research and propose regulations on new and expanding mines.
Town board member Rick McGuiggan was chosen to organize the committee and join as a liaison to the town board.
Resident members are Jason Jensen, Dan Meyers, David Aichinger, Gayle Jensen, Jim LaRue and Dan Guenthner.
The board also chose to allow Matt Togerson, co-owner of the North 40 Resources mine, to join the committee, reasoning that the business pays taxes in Farmington.
“The gentleman from North 40 is obviously not a resident but he’s a taxpayer and a landowner,” said Board Chair Dennis Cottor. “Is he allowed to be on the committee? That’s the call for you guys to make.”
“The reason we didn’t have people from the village is because they don’t pay taxes here,” Clerk Deb Swanson said. “Technically they [North 40] do pay taxes here, so they have a stake.”
The committee will research and ultimately propose regulations on future mining requests.
Cottor shared a list of items for research and potential regulation including installing test wells to the west and south to be tested twice each year, limiting operations to 12 hours per day, regulations on lighting, setbacks from the road, height of berms, plantings, slopes, and requiring 40 acres be reclaimed before 40 more are opened.
“These are some of my concerns as a resident and board chairman,” Cottor said.
The board talked about whether to institute a freeze on new or expanded operations until new rules are set.
“We’re going to need time to let this committee work,” Cottor said. “What is our legal procedure for allowing the committee to work, 90 days? 120 days? It will take time for fact finding and to come forward with a new ordinance so we need a timetable.”
Saying he preferred the word “freeze” to “moratorium” because his intent was not to stop anything, Cottor suggested the board pursue a months-long pause in action. However, the item was not on the agenda for the September 9 meeting, and no formal proposal was made.