At the previous meeting, on Thursday night, the applicant and
supporters of the application addressed the appeals board.
Monday's meeting brought the thoughts and feelings of those in
Farmer Blaine Olson was the first to speak. Olson and his family
run a show-pig farm on 920th Avenue, less than a mile away from the
land in question.
Olson addressed the issue of the de-watering of wells that may
occur if a mine is built in that area. Olson referenced a
conversation he had previously with George Roadcap of the Illinois
Water Survey. Roadcap informed Olson that should his well run dry,
options for getting more water are severely limited. Olson would
likely have to find a way to get city water running to his property.
Olson also addressed the notion that excess water may benefit
crop growth. However, Olson also referenced the 2009 growing season,
which was a record-setting wet year. The crop output in 2009 was
four times worse than this year, when the crop suffered a drought
through the growing season.
Olson also commented on the issue of traffic on the nearby roads.
He worries that traffic figures will be much higher than previously
estimated, as the plant in question that would be built will be more
efficient and possess a larger rock crusher. Therefore, more trucks
could enter and exit, each carrying more rocks.
Furthermore, the intersection used by the trucks would likely not
be safe. Olson has spoken in passing with county road commissioners,
and he has suggested that a new intersection, a four-way stop or
even a traffic light could be used to improve the traffic flow and
provide a safer area.
Olson also pointed out that the intersection in question is the
only access point to that area of the county, and residents there
would face such traffic every time they wanted to leave from or
drive to their home.
Olson commented on the involvement of Hanson Material Services,
the company Muck has been working with on this application. Olson
spoke with a Hanson representative recently.
"That person told me that they were very aware of the concerns of
my family," said Olson.
Olson was told that in a typical situation, Hanson would have
already begun addressing these issues in anticipation of possible
problems. However, a definite contract has not been worked out, and
because of legal advising from within the company, Hanson cannot
even be present at an appeals board meeting, let alone talk with
individuals. Typically, Hanson begins to work with people in Olson's
situation before the rezoning is even applied for.
Olson finished by saying that he is not opposed to a quarry
coming to Logan County; he is opposed to the way the situation is
being handled, and he would ask that people put themselves in his
Todd Turner, Olson's attorney, commented on the land in question,
saying that the Logan County Comprehensive Plan states nothing about
the land being used in such a manner. Turner also mentioned that he
believes the experiences of past neighbors of the previous mine
should not really be considered relevant.
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"Those persons are free to choose where they want to live," said
Turner, referring to past neighbors. Olson and his family do not
have the capability to move away from the potential quarry, and they
moved into the area with the idea that they could live in an
Furthermore, saying that past neighbors had no problems with the
quarry is misleading, as different people have different takes on
Turner's biggest concern is the lack of a solid commitment from
Hanson or any other mining company. Turner is also concerned that
Muck's answers may not be completely accurate, as he is not an
employee of that company; he is only working with them on the
"We don't really have answers we can rely on," said Turner.
Another concern of Turner's is the lack of land ownership by
Hanson. Currently, the plan is for Muck to lease the land to the
Should Hanson back out of the lease, or if Muck should sell the
land while they are present, or if a new company should buy Hanson
out, the instability that could result is very unsettling to
Turner proposed that any ordinance passed concerning this
application should contain a list of agreed-upon terms. These terms
would guarantee that whatever mining company is involved would
address the issues of the opposition in the future, should those
issues arise. In other words, Turner suggests that the parties
involved put an agreement in writing for future reference.
The debate went on for over three hours on Monday evening. Other
concerns addressed by opposition include how mining might affect
water availability and natural gas presence.
The remainder of Monday evening's discussion will be continued in
tomorrow's edition of LDN.
All parties either in favor or opposed were allowed to speak in
full to the issue. Due to time constraints, an extension was set for
At the opening of Tuesday's meeting, Muck said he had been in
discussions with Hanson all day. He believed he could get the
company to commit to some contracts and requested a delay in the
decision of the appeals board.
The board agreed to the delay and will reconvene on Dec. 10.
Members of the zoning appeals board present were chairman Doug
Thompson, Dean Toohey, Rick Sheley and Wilbur Paulus. Zoning officer
Will D'Andrea was also present.
[By DEREK HURLEY; LDN]
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