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Brainerd City Council approves Wausau demolition permit with 35 conditions

Renu Recycling will be allowed to demolish the old Wausau Paper site, as long as it follows 35 strict city conditions in the process.

At its meeting Monday, the Brainerd City Council voted to approve the recommendation of the Planning Commission to issue a conditional use permit for Renu, as long as the company follows the city conditions.

Michigan-based company Renu Recycling wants to tear down the former Wausau Paper Mill site, and recently requested a conditional use permit from the city to do so.

But Renu officials previously said should the city agree on certain terms, they would walk away. Specifically, the condition that all asphalt surfaces be removed, as well as all foundation from the site below ground level.

Renu proposed removing 2 feet, which is industry standard, said Carlos Avitia, director of demolition with Renu. City staff recommended all of the concrete be removed from the ground, which is estimated to go 17 feet deep in some places.

At the Planning Commission meeting last week, Peter Avitia, business development manager with Renu, said the foundation requirement to remove everything could cause Renu to walk away from the project.

“(The project) will skyrocket (in price) to a point where we can’t proceed,” he said.

Avitia added it’s not a cost-effective move, and it’s easier for a future builder to remove whatever they want at the time they come in.

Renu officials were not at Monday’s meeting and did not give an official statement on whether they will stick with the project or back out.

City Planner Mark Ostgarden said he received two calls from Renu officials, which seemed “positive.” In the first call right after the Planning Commission meeting, Renu officials said they were still interested, he said. In the second call, they said they would like to know the outcome of Monday’s meeting, Ostgarden said.

At the meeting Monday, the council hashed out a few specific details of the 35 conditions.

As part of the vote, one of the conditions is that all buildings be torn down at the site. That’s also contrary to what Renu requested, noting earlier that a third-party was interested in buying the property after the demolition. That potential third-party buyer requested some buildings be left standing.

A few of the 35 conditions include:

• The permit be for one year, with an option to apply for up to a six-month extension.

• All buildings and structures must be removed.

• A town hall meeting must be hosted before work is started.

• Statement of financial capability must be provided.

• Escrow account made to cover unanticipated cost items.

• All asphalt surfaces must be removed, except those on city-rented easements.

• Site restoration should include planting of native vegetation.

• The city can inspect the site at any time.

• The company must provide a truck hauling plan identifying proposed routes, vehicle counts and traffic control measures. • Debris on-site will be kept back 200 feet from Mill Avenue, so the public doesn’t have to see it.

• Operation hours limited to: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Trucks cannot travel between 9 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. and 3-6 p.m. No Saturday hauling between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

• Some sort of financial guarantee (as in the form of bonds) showing that Renu is capable of finishing the project. The amount will be set at 110 percent of the estimated value of the project.

JESSIE PERRINE may be reached at or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at