Monday, November 12, 2012
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Land rezoning request for quarry becomes battle

Part 2

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[November 12, 2012]  Thursday evening the Logan County Zoning Board of Appeals met for a public hearing on a land rezoning request. The property, owned by Douglas Muck, is near the former rock quarry west of Lincoln. It measures 280 acres and is bordered by 900th Avenue and 1400th Street. If rezoned from special district to extraction, limestone mining would resume in the area.

Only one side of the issue was heard on Thursday. The hearing continues Monday at 7 p.m. at West-Lincoln Broadwell School.

In part one, lawyers argued procedural issues, and then the landowner began addressing the economic value the mining operation would bring to the area in limestone and jobs. Muck also addressed concerns of neighbors, including aesthetics. His discussion continues below.

As to the potential truck traffic the objectors would see, Muck asked the quarry employees who were present what the average number of trucks driven out in a day is like. While an exact average was not given, the highest figure for truck tonnage in one day was 4,200 tons, and an average truck carries 20 tons, which would result in 210 trucks at the highest. Muck believes the average is somewhere between 50 and 100 trucks.

While on the issue of trucks, Muck addressed the related concern of safety for school buses. The buses that drive to that area are WLB school buses. The drivers of those buses would not be stopping close enough to the trucks that it would really be a problem.

"Again, nobody contacted them (the school) on that issue but me," Muck said.

Finally, Muck reiterated that this is simply a permit to rezone the land. The mining permit, and the process of obtaining one, will address all of these issues before construction can even begin.

The greatest issue Muck addressed was the issue of drainage and wells. He claimed that the land in question actually has a problem retaining too much water, whereas the objectors are worried that their wells be affected by the operation and possibly run dry. Muck said his family refers to the land as a "Lake Farm" because of the excess runoff that gathers on it.

Should a well be drained due to mining operations, Muck reiterated that Hanson would be glad to drill a new well for whoever had been affected, as they have in the past.

To further elaborate on the water issues brought to the attention of the appeals board, Muck called on specialists from Andrews Engineering. While Muck did offer to postpone their presentation in favor of allowing a rebuttal from the objectors, and attorney George Mueller expressed the same desire, the board decided to hear what the hydrologists had to say first.

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The two hydrologists were Kenneth Liss and Ron Hewitt. Their presentation consisted of various charts and graphs that served to illustrate two main points. Those points are that the land in question is simply too geologically inconsistent, and there are too many other variables to take into consideration, to say whether or not drainage will affect neighboring wells.

Furthermore, the hydrologists had to conduct their study without drilling on the property to confirm their estimates, and the data provided to them before the study was limited. Their primary research consisted of data from surrounding mining operations.

The findings of the hydrologists face opposition from a similar survey done by George Roadcap, a staff member of the Illinois Water Survey, who used similar data and believes the drainage will negatively affect nearby wells. Roadcap himself was not present at the hearing.

The meeting was ended due to time constraints, and an extension was set for Monday at the same location. The appeals board is hoping to have a recommendation to make to the county board after the continuation on Monday.

Members of the zoning appeals board present were chairman Doug Thompson, Dean Toohey; Rick Sheley and Wilbur Paulus. Logan County zoning officer Will D'Andrea was also present.


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