Citizens Upholding Responsible Business
$1,505 raised
2% of $100k goal
16 contributors
46 Weeks running

Columbus Minnesota is a community of just over 3900 people, about 20 miles north of the Twin Cities.  It's a beautiful area with lakes, streams, woods and marshes.  The majority of the citizens in the community moved here to enjoy nature, the clean air and the unobtrusive nature of the city.  This is all threatened right now! 

The Columbus City Council amended its zoning ordinances in order to approve a conditional use permit application by Bituminous Roadways to build a new asphalt plant in an area of our city occupied by single family residences, as well as various commercial businesses.  This is known as spot zoning and it’s illegal.  The city’s actions are in violation of its Comprehensive Plan and against the wishes of most of Columbus voting citizens and objections by the surrounding communities.  More than 800 Columbus citizens signed a petition against the plant; there are only a little over 1300 registered voters in Columbus.  An affected radius from the site includes portions of Lino Lakes, Centerville, Hugo, Forest Lake and Columbus.  The citizens of these communities, some who live within 600-1000 feet of the proposed plant, have no voice with the city because they are not citizens of Columbus. 

Asphalt production will include 500 asphalt truck trips per day, TWELVE hours per day, SIX days per week for EIGHT non-winter months every year on a narrow, curvy, county road with no shoulders and lined by resident and business properties.  There is only one road that accesses the site of the proposed plant, so all truck traffic will traverse this county road for at least two miles before accessing the Freeway.  It is estimated that the truck traffic from the asphalt plant alone will decrease the lifespan of the county road by almost one half of its projected 20 year lifespan. 

The plant will negatively affect property values within 2 miles of the site.  A study conducted for a similarly impacted community by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League saw property values within a two mile radius of the plant fall between 27-56 percent. The amount of property tax revenue contributed by this asphalt plant to the city coffers is estimated to be $9800 per year over and above what the land contributes currently.  When a proposed concrete production facility is added on in Phase II, the total proposed tax revenue to the city is $21,000. This does not even make up the projected loss of property tax revenue that will be caused by decreased property values.  Our cities will be assaulted by the smells, pollution, sounds and traffic after the plant is constructed, with its five-story piles of raw materials and six-story silos, abutting the Rice Creek Watershed and the gateway to Columbus at the merging of Interstates 35E and 35W and there isn't even an economic argument that can support its construction!

Despite all of the efforts of the citizens opposed to the plant, our voices fell on the deaf ears of the city officials.  As a result, the citizen's group, CURB, was formed to organize an opposition to the project.  After exhausting all administrative remedies, we were left with no choice but to file a lawsuit against the city to stop the development.  There were no law firms willing to take this legal challenge on Pro-Bono so we hired an experienced litigator to represent us.   We are now heading for our injunction hearing July 6, 2018, but we need financial help.   If you are appalled at the arrogance of a rogue city council YOU can help show solidarity against this appropriation of our rights, property values and rural way of life by supporting our lawsuit against the City of Columbus and Bituminous Roadways, Inc.   Please give what you can so we don't lose our homes along with our pristine environment.

 

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