Thursday, September 06, 2012
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Landowners seek rezoning of land

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[September 06, 2012]  The Logan County zoning committee met last night to discuss an important item. There is a piece of land in Logan County that could be rezoned in the near future.

Will D'Andrea reported that he had received a request for a permit to change 280 acres of land from use as a special district to an extraction district.

Excavation districts are used for mining of materials, rock-crushing and mixing plants.

The land in question is near the east side of the current rock quarry site. It is bordered by 900th Avenue and 1400th Street.

Such a decision would require a three-quarters majority of the county board to take action. However, this would simply be the rezoning itself; opening a new mine would still require state regulations with numerous permits be met.

The regional planning commission met later in the evening to discuss the conversion of the land use.

A protest petition has also been filed by the Klockenga family to try to stop the land from being converted, and that would later be discussed at the planning commission meeting as well. Klockenga owns more than 20 percent of the land across from the acreage in question, and according to the regulations, he has met the requirement for protest.

Doug Muck, a local attorney and landowner, had stated previously that he does not think the protest is valid. Materials have been sent by zoning committee chair David Hepler to the state's attorney's office to gain some legal insight into this matter. Muck later appeared at the planning commission meeting to elaborate on his position.

Currently, mining operations are winding down in Logan County. This is because the supply of limestone, an important mineral used in farming, in the current mine has run out.

The current nearby quarry is in the process of shutting down permanently.

Chuck Ruben, a zoning committee member and farmer, commented that opening a new mine would be a great advantage.

"We'd have a quarry again," Ruben said. "We completely eliminated the lime in the central Illinois area this year. You can't get it here right now."

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Logan County has been having rock for road projects transported from outside sources, which, due to the high cost of fuel and trucking over distances, increases costs for the county.

It was also observed that the county loses out on the sales tax revenues brought in from the quarry, a multimillion-dollar industry, and there would also be a loss of jobs, thereby income revenues.

The same company that works the current mine is applying for the land change. Part of this application process will involve getting permission from the state through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Bill Martin said his primary concern was the road holding up to increased truck traffic. However, the company working the mine may be willing to help take care of the road repairs if needed.

No outside parties were present for the discussion by this committee.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Hepler summed up in a question that he heard consensus from the committee to recommend approval when it comes before the full county board. There were no objections.

Committee members present at the meeting were Hepler, Ruben, Andy Meister, Bill Martin, Robert Farmer, Jan Schumacher and the county zoning officer, D'Andrea.

The zoning appeals board will have a public hearing in Broadwell tonight at 7:30 to discuss the matter further.


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