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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Environment - More on "Quarry foes get help from commissioners"

Updating this ILB post from yesterday, Lafayette Journal Courier columnist Dave Bangert writes today under the headline: "Saviors or sneaks on quarry ban?" It begins:

What more than this can you say about the custom-fit, surprise solution the Tippecanoe County commissioners came up with this week to block a quarry in the works near Americus: Isn't that what every neighborhood wants from their elected officials?

The application for a quarry along Old Indiana 25 had been billed as a David vs. Goliath tale up until now. Sure, the Rogers Group, a Nashville, Tenn., crushed rock company, this spring had put its plans on hold, hoping to win the hearts and skeptical minds of those along Old Indiana 25 who didn't think digging a 420-foot-deep hole along the Wabash River made sense for their water supply, their rural setting, their traffic or their peace of mind.

But the Indiana Department of Natural Resources already sided with the Rogers Group, sending a letter to an Americus area group doing the fighting that "the law does not allow us to deny a permit" that meets certain criteria — as the Rogers Group's plan did. The Americus Area Community Coalition was doing all it could to gear up for an eventual hearing with the county's Board of Zoning Appeals, Rogers Group's last stop on the approval checklist. That board, driven less by emotion than by precedent, offered no guarantees for neighbors.

On Monday, the county commissioners tipped the scales for the underdog, in a huge way, when they gave initial approval to an ordinance that would ban quarries that have 100 homes within two miles. It could be a devastating blow for Rogers and a stunning win for every homeowner with a red-on-white "Stop the Stone Quarry" sign planted in their front yard along 55-mph stretches of the old state road.

It's one that has everyone — from protesters to blindsided quarry planners — asking: Where have these guys been?

Followed by: What sort of can of worms did the commissioners open?

Keep reading the long column here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 18, 2014 08:59 AM
Posted to Environment