The request by landowner Douglas Muck would change 280 acres near
the now deplete former rock quarry west of Lincoln from special
district agriculture to extraction.
In review, last Thursday the
Logan County Zoning Board of Appeals heard favorable comments that
took the full evening.
That meeting adjourned to reconvene on Monday to hear opposition.
The Monday hearing, lasting over three hours, had a number of
speakers covering several issues and concerns. An additional meeting
was scheduled for Tuesday evening.
On Tuesday, the landowner requested a postponement until Dec 10
to bring further desired information forward. The appeals board
agreed to that request.
On Wednesday, LDN brought you a summary of the first half of the
comments made during the opposition portion of the hearing. (Part
The concerns or opposition continued...
Mike Rapps, an engineer who has worked with land issues for
nearly 40 years, was asked by Todd Turner, attorney for nearby
resident Blaine Olson, to gather data on possible water problems
that may arise.
Rapps gathered what data he could, and he came to the realization
that the ground in question is very unpredictable. While the
minerals in the area are consistent in terms of what is present, the
amount of each mineral varies wildly throughout the land in
question. As Rapps put it, the land is "total chaos." He explained
that it is simply too difficult to make sense of the land
composition. He compared normal land to a layer cake, and this land
is "more like a soufflé."
Along with the seemingly random mineral deposits in the area,
bits and pieces of an aquifer can also be found deep under the
surface. The pieces cannot be put together into one solid map,
Finally, Rapps said he does not have enough information to make a
solid prediction as to what will happen to the water table should a
quarry be built. Furthermore, in his opinion, the applicant should
be conducting studies on this potentially serious issue.
Rapps did provide data from studies of other areas with similarly
Muck stated that this data on other areas is irrelevant, as it is
not data concerning the land where the quarry would be built.
Don Ludwig, Olson's neighbor and an objector to the rezoning
application, also spoke to the appeals board. Ludwig and his wife
live on 1400th Street, about a mile and a quarter from the proposed
Ludwig began by saying that he appreciates the opportunity to
bring his concerns to the attention of public officials. As it
stands, this is the only real chance the public has to speak on the
issue. Ludwig also echoed earlier statements as to the lack of
answered questions from Hanson Material Services, as well as the
concerns over the water table.
Ludwig's main concern is the presence of natural gas in the area.
Last fall, a natural gas leak occurred in the surrounding area.
Ludwig's home was unaffected, but it easily could have been. Ludwig
is worried about the state of that natural gas. The gas could be a
danger due to the constant shifting of ground at the quarry, and gas
pressure could build once again and leak out. A gas leak poses
significant risk, especially when the quarry would be detonating
[to top of second column]
Ludwig also said that while he has not talked to previous
neighbors of Hanson Material Services, the company has not struck
him as particularly neighborly.
"I don't know what the quarry was doing to make them enjoy living
next to it; it just wasn't visually evident to me," said Ludwig.
Finally, Ludwig wonders why Hanson did not try sooner to find
more rock if they knew the supply at the previous quarry was running
Ludwig's attorney, John Myers, echoed the concern that nobody
really knows for sure just who the company in charge of the quarry
would be. All anyone has heard is that Muck is working with Hanson,
yet they have not been present for questioning.
Steve Schreiner, who also lives on 1400th Avenue, reiterated that
he is not convinced his well will not go dry, and he would like to
see guarantees that his needs will be addressed. Schreiner also
commented that while the previous quarry grounds do look better than
they have in previous years, the reclamation efforts are still an
George Mueller, Schreiner's attorney, referred to this as a
"trust me" case by Muck. Essentially, Mueller is saying that Muck is
telling his opponents that everything will be taken care of if
problems arise in the future, but he has not done the work needed to
guarantee that statement.
Mueller also said that attaching conditions to the rezoning
application may not be the best idea, as the legality of such an
action is a gray area.
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.
When the hearing continued on Tuesday evening, Muck said he had
been in discussions with Hanson all day and believed he could get
the company to commit to some contracts and to have a representative
attend the hearing, if it could be delayed 30 days.
The appeals board agreed to Muck's request and set Dec. 10 to
reconvene. The board is expected to reach its decision at that time.
The opinion of the appeals board is given to the Logan County
Board. The county board is the final decider on zoning requests. The
recommendations of the zoning appeals board and the regional
planning commission weigh heavily in the decision process, but the
county board makes the final decision.
The regional planning commission has already voted in favor of
the rezoning request.
The county board's planning and zoning committee has been
reviewing the information, checking legal aspects with the state's
attorney's office, and is preparing to assist the board in reviewing
the matter when it is presented.
[By DEREK HURLEY; LDN]
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