Planning Board approves two variances

by Dave DeMars

Variances for a cement-powder storage silo and a residential accessory building were both approved by the St. Joseph City/Township Joint Planning Board at its April 11 meeting.

One property is owned by Knife River Corp.; the other property is the homestead of Randon and Tracy Eiynck.

On the Knife River property, located at 8552 Ridgewood Road, a height variance was requested for a cement-powder storage silo. Present zoning allows for a 45-foot silo height. Knife River is requesting approval of a 68.5-foot silo. Another silo is currently located on the property, and the new silo is proposed to be placed near the old silo for additional storage.

The applicants said additional storage is needed for several reasons. The St. Joseph plant is in a central location for 18 ready-mix concrete plants owned by Knife River and would provide for easier distribution of powder to other locations; An additional silo would help prevent disruptions in the supply of cement powder when market forces create shortages. The site would buffer against reliance on third-party distributors of the powder who may have difficulty with delivery during peak production periods such as spring, summer and fall. Further, the larger 68-foot silo is now the standard throughout the concrete industry.

Since the site already has one silo, establishing another silo would not create a new use or function, the applicant maintained, adding use of  the property is consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan. All setbacks would be met on the site, which is more than 22 acres in size. The property is in an industrial zone.

There was some question raised as to whether the silo, if it should collapse, would be entirely contained on the property. Ron Klinker of Knife River said on three sides a collapse would be entirely on Knife River property. On the remaining side, about a quarter of the silo would fall on property owned by the railroad. The location of the silo and delivery of cement powder by rail necessitates the silo being located near the railway for ease of access and offloading. Further, Klinker commented he was unaware of a powder silo ever having suffered a collapse.

After closing the public hearing, the board considered the findings of fact and finding no substantial concern or legal reason to object to granting the variance, the board approved it.

The second request for variance was on the homestead property of Randon and Tracy Eiynck, located at 31897 Cedar Ridge Road. In this case, the property referred to is more than eight acres in size, but only 18,248 square feet (less than one-half an acre) is suitable for development. At issue are wetland restrictions that make it necessary to place any building closer to the road than ordinarily allowed by code.

The Eiyncks sought a variance so they might place an accessory building on the property. There is only one practical location to place the building which would be used solely for residential purposes, such as storage of tools and equipment. The building would be constructed with similar-type materials to match the primary structure. During much of the year, the building would be obscured by foliage and would not be visible from the street.

After closing the public hearing and after due consideration, the board approved the variance.

photo by Dave DeMars
The area near the bottom of the photo labeled “Proposed Site” indicates the location of a 68-foot cement-powder storage silo Knife River Corp. proposes to build on its operations site in St. Joseph. The Joint Planning Board after hearing information and questions at a public meeting held April 11 at St. Joseph Government Center, approved the requested variance.

photo by Dave DeMars
Ron Klinker of Knife River Corp. answered a question during the public hearing held by the Joint Planning Board relative to the building of a 68-foot-cement-powder storage silo on the operations site in St. Joseph Township.


photo by Dave DeMars
Randon Eiynck points to the area on his property map where he would like to build an accessory building. Eiynck sought a variance because the building would be close to the road, though partly obscured, and would not meet code. Despite having over eight acres of property, there is very little buildable area because most of it is environmental wetlands.

photo by Dave DeMars
Randon Eiynck indicates the location he proposes to build an accessory building on his property. The building would not meet code because it’s too close to the road, so Eiynck requested a variance. The road is just to the right of the red line indicating property boundaries. Only about a half acre of the eight-acre property is able to be developed because it’s mostly environmental wetlands.









Dave DeMars

Dave DeMars

Born and raised in Wisconsin – a “Happy Days” high school experience.Attended UW-River Falls and followed their motto - “Where the free spirit prevails.”Four years in the Army Security Agency (Spies), 31 years teaching English and directing plays.Other jobs – gandy dancer, counselor at mental institution, snowmaker, apple picker, concrete finishing, janitor, furniture mover, appliance sales, insurance sales, media sales, real estate, and writer.I am skeptical to a fault and like all human being I am more oxymoron than I am anything else.I blog at
Dave DeMars

Latest posts by Dave DeMars (see all)

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply