Board Approves Expansion for Illinois Quarry
The Lakemoor, Ill., village board unanimously approved measures allowing for the annexation of property on its far west side, as well as for uses by Thelen Sand and Gravel for mining and related activities. The approvals allow Thelen to expand its current mining operation to another 164 acres and would increase the company’s total holdings in the area to 730 acres, according to the Daily Herald.
Neighbors in Val-Mar Estates and other areas had questioned the potential impacts of expanded mining, such as noise and dust, air and water quality and home values.
The area has been mined since the 1930s. Thelen began mining in 2010 after taking over an existing operation. Mining in Lakemoor will continue for 40 to 60 years. A required site plan for when mining is complete shows residential and commercial uses and nearly 500 acres of lakes and open space.
Vulcan Plant in Texas Faces More Hurdles
Vulcan Materials wants to mine rock for the next 80 years on a 1,500-acre site at Texas 46 and FM 3009, two busy rural roads in New Braunfels, Texas, dotted by ever more subdivisions.
Scant support for the company’s permit application was heard at a recent meeting that closed the public comment period set by the state agency, according to the San Antonio Express News. Locals expressed fears of being poisoned by dust and fumes generated by the mining and crushing of limestone and an estimated 153 trucks picking up loads daily. Area residents also talked about groundwater depletion, property devaluation and toxic runoff.
County-level officials are keeping a close eye on the project but have little authority under state statutes over land use. Opponents must largely rely on the state environmental agency to safeguard air and water quality, and they’re often not pleased with the results.
Tilcon Seeks Connecticut Land Deal
A new report commissioned by the city finds little downside to allowing Tilcon to expand its Plainville, Conn., gravel mining operation into New Britain, Conn.’s watershed, according to the Hartford Courant. The report of more than 400 pages raises no major environmental concerns, and instead suggests it would benefit New Britain because Tilcon plans to eventually transform the property into a reservoir.
Tilcon wants to use more than 100 acres of woodlands north of its gravel quarry in Plainville to expand operations over the next several decades. Development and commercial use are prohibited there; the land is owned by New Britain’s water utility and is protected as environmentally sensitive watershed.
Tilcon is proposing a 40-year lease with the city, offering to pay millions of dollars and then return the land as a reservoir when the gravel mining is done. Tilcon is offering more than 200 acres of open space to New Britain, Southington and Plainville as part of the deal.
Idaho Quarry Stymied by Community Opposition
Canyon County, Idaho, commissioners backed a neighborhood appeal to halt the expansion of a gravel operation in the city of Nampa. Canyon County Planning and Zoning initially approved a 20-year conditional use permit on Nov. 2, 2017, for Cope Sand and Gravel to expand its mineral extraction and crushing operations on a 40-acre plot next to their current site on Lake Lowell Avenue.
Wild Rose Ranchettes and Lakeview Long Acres subdivisions are near the site. Although mineral extraction is allowed in the area’s mixed-residential and agricultural zone, Wild Rose Estates Homeowners Association appealed the decision days later on the grounds that Canyon County’s future comprehensive plan intended the area to be residential. The association also argued the dust and noise from the gravel pit would negatively impact residents’ quality of life and residential property values.
Developers who testified in support of the permit said Cope Sand and Gravel’s existing mineral extraction operation was “near the end of its production life.” Expansion onto the adjacent property was “necessary to continue the operation,” according to the written testimony from Canyon County’s public hearing.