Anoka County needs 60,000 cubic yards of sand underneath a segment of Bunker Lake Boulevard being reconstructed and it will not have to go far to get this fill.
The Andover City Council Tuesday night unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the Sonsteby family and North Pine Aggregate of Forest Lake to excavate this sand from the northeast corner of Bunker Lake Boulevard and Seventh Avenue. It will be replaced by 20,000 cubic yards of black dirt that will be leveled off to create a new topsoil layer, according to Brent Jensen, vice president of North Pine Aggregate.
“It should blend into what’s in there now,” Jensen told the Andover Planning and Zoning Commission May 14. “I don’t think by the time the road construction is done that anybody will even notice the difference in the field.”
City Planner Stephanie Hanson said the conditional use permit requires the site to be new grass after the excavation is complete and the black dirt is leveled off.
The work will take place while Bunker Lake Boulevard is being reconstructed by Anoka County from 38th Avenue to Seventh Avenue. A short stretch of Seventh Avenue north and south of Bunker Lake Boulevard is also being reconstructed this summer. City Engineer and Public Works Director David Berkowitz has heard the road could be open to through traffic by winter, but the project would not be finished until next year.
Currently, the section of Bunker Lake Boulevard west of 38th Avenue is only supposed to be used by residents that live on Blackfoot Street because they have no other alternative route out or into their neighborhood. The closest suggested county east-west route detour is 157th Avenue (County Road 20).
These Blackfoot Street residents are the closest to the temporary mining site. Nobody spoke for or against the project at the May 14 planning and zoning commission public hearing.
The commission did question the Sonsteby family’s reasoning for only bringing in 20,000 cubic yards of black dirt after Berkowitz said gravity sanitary sewer can serve the area with the lowering of the site elevation, but the units on the west side of the property may be limited to slab on grade and building styles may also be restricted on the rest of the property.
According to Glen Sonsteby, who represented his mother Rosella Sonsteby at both city meetings, the site is not level now and would be more level after this project is completed.
Jensen said most of the sand will come from a high ridge on the western half of the property.
City Administrator Jim Dickinson said that the land use plan for this property is commercial and high density housing.
Councilmember Mike Knight asked if split level housing, which would have a limited basement depth, would be allowed.
Berkowitz said that could be possible, but Dickinson said there probably would not be split level housing because of the high density residential plan.
“It’s their property, I don’t have any issue with that,” Councilmember Tony Howard said. “They just got to know that in the long run, it’s going to have some effect.”
Eric Hagen is at firstname.lastname@example.org