Neighbors concerned over scrap yard

Dale and Julie Van Steenwyk can see the proposed site for a scrap yard from the porch of their home.

Mille Lacs County Times

Several concerned neighbors met last Thursday evening at Barbara Jean’s in Milaca to discuss a proposed scrap yard near their properties at 180th Avenue and U.S. Highway 169.

A number of concerns surrounding the proposed metal redemption (recycling) center by applicant Grant VanWyngeeren, of Brainerd, were aired at the meeting.

Carla Bruggeman facilitated the conversation, offering documentation she  collected throughout the process of VanWyngeeren’s conditional use permit application.

Bruggeman, who attended the last planning commission meeting that addressed the permit, said she was disappointed that the minutes from that meeting that were given to her from county Land Services Director Michele McPherson.

“Right away, I had a problem with it,” she said. “The minutes are very, very scant as to what actually went on at that meeting.”

Julie Van Steenwyk, another property owner near the proposed site, also expressed frustration at not receiving the audio recording from the planning commission meeting that she had asked of McPherson more than two weeks ago.

County Commissioner Phil Peterson, who was at the meeting, took issue with the implications.

“I’m going to have to defend Michele here,” he said. “County employees work very hard to administer government and I can’t sit here and let you attack her.”

During a phone interview with the Times, McPherson said that she had put the request for the digital recording in the IT department and was waiting to hear back from them.

“I’m not trying to hide anything,” she said. “I just don’t have the technology in my office to burn a CD.”

McPherson said the minutes are a summary of the meeting, and are not meant to be a verbatim representation of what was said.

Bruggeman said another concern she and other property owners have about the site is the lack of state inspections on the site.

For the rest of this story see the print edition of the March 8 Mille Lacs County Times.