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Letter: Welcome to Red Wing ... land of contractors yards?

To the editor: 

Welcome to Red Wing — what's not to love? Charming downtown. Bluffs. River views.

Growing up in this community and still a frequent visitor, I also value the outskirts of town. Hay Creek Township has miles of state trails and a peaceful, rural vibe.

But rows of dumpsters, environmental risks, and truck traffic? That's new and unexpected.

Did you know that 3 acres and a truck in Goodhue County means landowners and industrial businesses can now request a loosely defined "contractors yard"? To see an example underway, take a drive south on Highway 58 (remember the Sky Line Ballroom?). With a pending contractor yard permit, this quiet, residential area is already being lined with dumpsters, trailers, and grading of green agricultural land into gravel.

Proposed use will lead to truck traffic hazards, storage of waste materials and environmental concerns. With surrounding properties and growth potential zoned as residential, imagine what approving this type of business would do to the views, property values, and rural way of living.

Despite signed opposition from the city of Red Wing, Hay Creek Township and more than 40 concerned property owners surrounding the area, the Goodhue County Planning Advisory Commission recently recommended approving this contractors yard with a vote 6-0 (without directly addressing or resolving the dozens of documented concerns). The members have apparently prioritized the business interests of one party over detrimental impact to the community.

If contractors Yards like this are approved, precedent is set. Anyone near 3-plus-acre parcels in Goodhue County, regardless of how they are zoned, are at risk. There are appropriate locations for contractors yards, like industrial parks or areas where they don't intrude on neighborhoods. Allowing them in the middle of residential areas seems out of place visibly and concerning environmentally.

Welcome to Red Wing—land of contractors yards? I certainly hope not. If you agree, contact your county commissioners ( before their July 24 meeting and urge them to uphold Zoning Ordinance Article 4, which states permits must be compatible with residential areas and not diminish property values. If they don't uphold, be prepared for the new views.

Jessica Wandrey