Quarry question still a quandary
If you go
What: The Milton Town Board and the Town of Milton Planning and Zoning Committee plan discussion of details and a conditional-use permit request from B.R. Amon & Sons of Elkhorn for a gravel quarry along North Klug Road.
When: 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 22.
Where: Milton Town Hall, 23 First St., Milton.
MILTON TOWNSHIP The Milton Town Board on Monday put the brakes on a permit request for a gravel quarry along Klug Road.
Officials on the board and the town's planning and zoning committee met jointly for a public hearing on the quarry. They said they wanted more information from developer Tom Amon, who was making his second pitch for the quarry since the town board initially denied the plan in February.
Monday's decision came after dozens of residents voiced concerns during a three-hour hearing. Concerns ranged from the quarry's possible environmental impact to its effect on property values.
During Monday's meeting, Amon presented a site map with a hand-drawn outline of the quarry plan. However, he showed no other definite plans that reflect recent changes he had made, which included eliminating a concrete plant, water wells and gravel wash ponds.
The board asked Amon back for a special meeting May 22 more information including:
-- Better defined hours of operations.
-- A detailed outline county and state permitting standards that would have to be met.
-- Details on dust and noise standards.
-- A well-defined timeline for operations and a full site reclamation plan.
-- A more current operation plan in writing, with attached drawings that better reflects the current proposal.
-- Studies on environmental impact and noise at the possible quarry.
The board also wanted to hold off on a vote Monday to have town attorney Dave Moore's assistance in drafting a possible motion. Moore was unable to attend Monday's hearing, officials said.
Amon's Elkhorn-based company, B.R. Amon & Sons, is requesting the town approve a conditional-use permit for a 137-acre quarry.
The quarry would be located on a parcel owned by Scott Traynor east of North Klug Road, adjacent to state protected wetlands and dozens of residents. According to company plans, the quarry would operate up to 14 hours a day and as many as six days a week, and quarry traffic would be routed north through Traynor's property to County N.
The quarry's planned operation is for five years, but Amon has set no definite end date for operations. He said quarrying would be conducted in stages, with crews filling in areas as they advanced.
The town board last month stripped a conservation zoning designation from the land in question, erasing a zoning hurdle that had prompted the board to deny the quarry plan in February.
Marian Trescher, who chairs the town planning and zoning committee, said the committee could give the board a recommendation on the quarry plan at next week's meeting. She told The Gazette on Monday that she thinks a week is long enough for Amon and the town to gather the information required for a decision on the permit request.
"We've been working on this and looking at this for a long time," she said.
Linda Schalk, a member of a neighbors group that opposes the quarry, said she doesn't believe there's any way the board could have all the information it is requesting in a week's time.
"I think that's ridiculous and unreasonable," she said.
Schalk's group, Neighbors of Klug Road and Storrs Lake Wildlife area, gave the board a petition with more than 300 signatures from town residents opposing the quarry development.
If the board does approve a permit for the quarry, it still would need permitting from Rock County and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources because the quarry is adjacent to county shoreland protected areas and a state marshland.
The neighbors group's attorney, Madison lawyer Matthew Fleming, cautioned the town against approving the permit as a means to "punt" the issue to Rock County planners or the state DNR to unravel permitting minutia and fill in information gaps.
Fleming said the town would be hard pressed to enforce something as elementary as a time limit on operations at the quarry if it wasn't spelled out clearly in its own permit.
"The power is difficult to exercise once someone has their foot in the door," he said.