Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Environment - "Quarry foes get help from commissioners"
Rogers Group's planned quarry operations near Americus might be shut down before the first shovel of dirt is turned.Later in the story:
Tippecanoe County commissioners approved on the first of two readings an ordinance that creates buffer zones between residential homes and any quarry operations in the county. The proposal, which passed Monday 3-0, would ban new quarry operations if 100 residences are within a two-mile radius of the proposed quarry.
Tippecanoe County attorney Doug Masson said the commissioners could have brought up the ordinance regardless of Rogers Group's application for an exception, but the lack of a pending petition strengthens the county's case if Rogers Group challenges with a civil lawsuit, which Masson admitted might be a possibility. * * *
There was no opposition to the proposed ordinance, most likely because it wasn't on the agenda. Commissioners said the ordinance was finalized too late on Friday to add to the published notice.
Andy Gutwein, local counsel for Rogers Group, released a statement Monday expressing disappointment in the commission's decision to vote after hearing from only one side.
"We would have appreciated the opportunity to attend today's county commission meeting, but neither we nor the public were given notice," the statement said.
Larry Bosma and his brother, Henry, own the land on which the quarry would be dug. Larry Bosma was skeptical of the seemingly secretive process that presented an ordinance out of the blue.
"When you don't know anything about it, it's sneaky business," Bosma said.
"We heard something about it on Friday," he said of rumors that reached him. "It wasn't on the docket."
Byers said representatives from Americus Area Community Coalition talked with commissioners about the proposed ordinance on Thursday and Friday, and Masson was asked to draft the ordinance on Friday.
Masson confirmed he presented the ordinance between 4 and 4:30 p.m. Friday.
"That's why we're hearing it on second reading," Murtaugh said. "We're going to hear it again in two weeks."
"Instead of railroading it completely through," Byer added, acknowledging that the ordinance came as a surprise to many.
"They didn't inform anybody about it," Bosma said. "I guess they're having another meeting. I'll have representation there."
The second reading is scheduled for 10 a.m. July 7.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 17, 2014 01:12 PM
Posted to Environment