Thursday, November 08, 2012
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Land rezoning request for quarry resumes

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[November 08, 2012]  The Logan County Board's planning and zoning committee met Wednesday to continue the ongoing discussion over the possibility of a new quarry in Logan County.

Board members present for this meeting were chairman David Hepler, Bill Martin, Robert Farmer, Chuck Ruben, Jan Schumacher and GIS director Will D'Andrea. Guests were Gene Rohlfs and Brian Bergen, the new director of the Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership. Doug Muck was also present at the meeting's end.

Will D'Andrea, Logan County's zoning officer, reported to the committee that a meeting of the zoning board of appeals is scheduled for Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (tonight). Due to expected weather conditions, the meeting will be in the gym at West-Lincoln Broadwell School. All of the parties involved will present their arguments to the appeals board, which will present a recommendation to the county board.

While there have been previous meetings on the issue, a new meeting is necessary due to improper legal notices.

Chairman David Hepler reported that at the previous county zoning meeting, he requested that objectors to the potential quarry put their concerns into writing.

Two weeks ago, the zoning committee received those written concerns in the form of a four-page letter. No progress has been made on answering the questions the objectors have been posing.

One of the suggestions brought forward at the previous meeting was to place conditions on the rezoning application. However, that idea has little precedent and no outlined process for how to go about adding said conditions.

"It is very unusual for there to be conditions on a rezone. It (the land) either is appropriate for that use or it's not," said D'Andrea. Logan County does not have the review process that would be needed for such an application of conditions.

"This is really the only public process that they (objectors) have to participate and to raise those questions."

D'Andrea also said that even if the county board approves the rezoning, the township road commissioner could still bring the process to a halt if the company is denied the permission to build a road that connects to the highway.

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Bill Martin also said that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources does not get involved very deeply with reclamation of land after the quarry is used up. Most of the enforcement concerning aesthetics of the land falls on the county.

The previous quarry is in the process of being torn down, and the land is being cleaned up by the owner.

Robert Farmer said he believes the previous site has to be completely reclaimed before a new one can be built.

As to the objections that are being brought forward, Hepler believes that many of them are civil matters that would not necessarily fall under the jurisdiction of the zoning committee.

For example, one of the primary concerns of the objectors is the possibility of damaging nearby wells. While the committee members weren't completely sure, it is possible there are state laws in place that protect wells and ensure that they are redrilled in such a case. Brian Bergen said that is the case in Indiana, where he is originally from.

Chuck Ruben said he believes the company would be willing to drill a new well in a case like that.

"They could fight it forever if they wanted to, but why would they? They would spend more in lawyer fees than they would ever spend on drilling a new well," said Ruben. s


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