Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More Burning Proposed at the HERC

I want people to be aware of this and am hoping some of you can follow it closely in the weeks ahead.

Covanta energy, on behalf of Hennepin County Environmental Services, has submitted an application to amend their existing conditional use permit for their downtown facility known as the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC aka "the garbage burner"). They are asking to be allowed to burn an average of 212 more tons of garbage a day at the HERC plant. The maximum allowed now is 1000 tons so this is a 21 percent increase. It could amount to over 77,000 more tons a year.

This matter will now go forward to the Planning Commission for a public hearing and a decision on June 8th. The staff report should be completed by June 2. The report will also likely include a recommendation. The Planning Commission is the decision making body about this issues since it is considered an Amendment to a Conditional Use Permit. If the Planning Commission decision is appealed it will go the city Council’s Zoning and Planning committee and then to the full Council.

If this does come to the Council on appeal, I am bound to withhold a final decision until the committee meeting and to base it on the public record. So, while I will be careful not to make a final decision prematurely, I will also be very careful to encourage and heed any and all information and views provided and I will help make sure that they are made part of the public record. If you have questions that you would like to ask planning staff or if you have comments or information you would like entered into the public record you can contact Kimberly Holien, City Planner at 612 673-2402 or at

I welcome your reaction, guidance and help. I will work to keep you informed.


At 9:29 AM, Blogger Cam Gordon said...

The staff report about this is now complete and is available here –

They are recommending approval of the conditional use permit amendment to allow them to burn an additional 212 tons of waste per day (averaged out over a year).

Here is a short summary from the agenda:

"Recommended Motion: The Community Planning and Economic Development Department - Planning Division recommends that the City Planning Commission adopt the findings and approve the amended conditional use permit for a waste disposal facility at the property of 419 N 5th St (aka 505 6th Ave N), subject to the following conditions:

The conditional use permit shall be recorded with Hennepin County as required by Minn. Stat. 462.3595, subd. 4 before building permits may be issued or before the use or activity requiring a conditional use permit may commence. Unless extended by the zoning administrator, the conditional use permit shall expire if it is not recorded within one year of approval.
Condition number 1 of the previous permit C-993 shall be amended to read: The resource recovery facility shall not exceed a size and capacity necessary to reclaim, burn, use, process or dispose of more than 1,212 tons average daily throughput of mixed municipal solid waste.
The applicant shall obtain all necessary permits through the MPCA to accommodate the increase in daily throughput.
Compliance shall be required with all emission standards specified in the previous permit(s) approved by the MPCA."

The planning commission will meet on June 8th at 4:30 in the City Council Chambers (Room 317,City Hall) to consider this. If the Commission’s decision is formally appealed winthin 10 days the matter will come to the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee and then to the full Council. If it is not appealed, the Planning Commission’s decision will be final.

Comments and questions can be sent to me or, to be sure that they are made part of the public record and get to the Planning Commission, to .

Cam Gordon


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