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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Environment - "Ordinance to stop Americus quarry approved"

Updating Monday's ILB post, Chris Morisse Vizza reports today in the Lafayette Journal Courier:

A standing ovation greeted Tippecanoe County Commissioners John Knochel and Tom Murtaugh on Monday after they enacted an ordinance that effectively bans development of a stone quarry near Americus.

"I am elated," said Janie Szczepanski, who lives near the proposed quarry site and is a member of the Americus Area Community Coalition.

Nearby homeowners for one year have fought to kill Rogers Group Inc.'s plan to develop a 524-acre limestone quarry on land owned by Larry and Henry Bosma at 8032 Old Indiana 25 N.

The land is bounded by Old Indiana 25 on the east and the Wabash River on the west. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources in January issued Rogers Group a certificate of approval for construction in the flood plain.

Knochel and Murtaugh on Monday took a second and final vote authorizing the ordinance that prohibits new quarry operations when 100 residences are located within a 2-mile radius. * * *

The fight is not over

Rogers Group on Thursday refiled a modified application for the quarry operation with the Tippecanoe County Board of Zoning Appeals. The modifications were based on community comments, the company said.

Proposed operating hours were reduced, neighbors would be compensated for substantial impairment to a ground water well, all trucks would be tarped to reduce dust and fencing would be added around the processing area, Rogers Group said.

The new request could be heard at the Aug. 27 BZA meeting, according to the APC website.

Nate Hofmann, a spokesman for quarry opponents, said residents will continue to research the facts about quarry operations, and refine their presentation to the specific topics the board of zoning appeals is allowed to consider.

BZA members can evaluate only requests for special exception based on criteria such as whether the use is authorized under county law, and whether the property use will injure other property because of traffic generation, placement of outdoor lighting, noise production or hours of operation, according to the APC website.

Criteria for a variance include whether adjacent property will be affected in a substantially adverse manner, and whether the variance will be injurious to public health, safety and general welfare of the community.

If approved by the BZA, the quarry operation could be headed for a court battle to resolve whether the ordinance enacted by the commissioners or the zoning approval would take priority.

"It depends on how far Rogers Group wants to take it," Knochel said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 9, 2014 08:10 AM
Posted to Environment