State and Province News December 2011
In late October, Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak hosted a trio of public meetings in Henderson. According to The Associated Press, the meetings were related to Service Rock Products and Cemex’s proposal to mine 1 square mile of federal Bureau of Land Management property in the Sloan Hills area over the next 20 years. The first hour of each meeting was an open house with specialists to answer questions, followed by a 30-minute presentation of the project and 90 minutes of public comment.
The town of Winchester’s planning board faces a legal challenge to its handling of Mitchell Sand and Gravel’s new asphalt plant. The Keene Sentinel reports that four residents filed an appeal of the planning board’s decision in Cheshire County Superior Court. They allege the board failed to enforce some of the 23 conditions it placed when granting permission for the asphalt plant earlier this year. The town must file a written appearance form this month and has until Jan. 6, 2012, to respond to the appeal.
Appellate justices again upheld a Supreme Court ruling nullifying the town of Nassau’s law banning commercial mining. According to The Times Union, the town re-appealed the justices’ March decision with information omitted in the original argument, but failed to sway the justices. Troy Sand & Gravel, the producer who has been involved in the eight-year dispute on mining rights, asked the court to render its special-use permit after their prolonged permitting efforts. The justices, however, noted that neither the town nor the town’s local laws provide for a default approval of a special-use permit when the town doesn’t comply with the appropriate time periods.
An attorney for Dolomite Products Co., a part of Callanan Industries Inc., said she hopes that its plan for an asphalt plant on Route 67 will be on the town planning board’s December agenda. The Saratogian reports that the company filed an application with the Zoning Board because it needs a height variance to construct the plant, which is estimated to be 70 feet tall. If approved, the plant would begin the environmental impact review process. It would also need approval from the state Historic Preservation Office for archaeology issues, the newspaper reports.
Gravel mining could begin soon in Thurston County after an adversarial citizens’ group announced that it would not appeal a court decision allowing Maytown Sand and Gravel to mine the site. The Olympian reports that Friends of Rocky Prairie gave up its lengthy battle after a local judge ruled that it lacked standing to challenge a county land-use decision regarding the site. A spokesperson for the group said it would have needed a million dollars to cover a bond necessary to move the appeal forward. Port of Tacoma Commission President Connie Bacon told the newspaper that the public entity appreciated that the courts agreed with its legal assertions, but was discouraged by the amount of unnecessary time and money (estimates show the port’s costs to range up to $2 million) incurred through the legal challenges.
Eau Claire County officials are considering an increase in mining fees to offset the costs associated with reviewing an anticipated increase in applications for silica sand mines. According to The Leader-Telegram, the county Finance and Budget Committee recommended the County Board increase its $35-per-acre charge to review proposed mines’ reclamation plans. The proposal would increase costs for a one- to five-acre mine to $200, while any mine larger than 102 acres would cost $7,000. The committee also recommended that public hearing fees be increased from $150 to $250. Buffalo County is also considering an increase in fees for new mines in that county.
The Red Cedar Town Board voted 4-to-1 to send a proposed sand processing plant to Dunn County officials for their consideration, The Leader-Telegram reports. Radnor, Pa.-based Preferred Sands wants to build a 160-acre plant near the northeast corner or Menomonie. If approved, it would process sand from its own mines.
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