BREAKING: Residents suing town of Milton over Traynor gravel pit permit

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Neil Johnson
Wednesday, May 8, 2013

MILTON—Several residents are suing the town of Milton to try to overturn the town’s issuance of a permit last month for a controversial gravel pit planned along North Klug Road.

A lawsuit naming nine parties, many who are residents along Klug Road, is asking a circuit court to force the town board to “withhold or rescind,” a conditional-use permit for a gravel pit it issued April 8 to town of Milton landowner Scott Traynor and Elkhorn developer Tom Amon.

The pit would be developed on a 107-acre farm parcel that Traynor owns east of Klug Road which is adjacent to a state wetland, dozens of residences and a church youth campgrounds.

The lawsuit, which was filed today in Rock County Circuit Court, asks the court for a slew of other judgments that would find the town ignored its own comprehensive use plan and “illegally” removed a conservation zoning overlay on the land where Traynor seeks a gravel pit.

In the suit, the residents argue that environmental conservation language in the town’s comprehensive use plan and the former zoning overlay would prohibit a gravel pit from being developed there.

The town initially denied a permit application for the pit first submitted by Traynor and Amon in December 2011. At the time, the board said the denial was because a lowland conservancy zoning overlay on the property prevented a pit being developed there.

The board then threw out the zoning overlay at a meeting in April 2012. The move allowed Traynor and Amon to rekindle their gravel pit application, which the town board approved in April.

The approval came after a full year of commissioned studies, arguments and stalling tactics by board and town plan commission members who at times appeared reluctant to make a decision on the pit.

The pit would supply gravel for local road projects, Amon has said. Residents oppose it because it would damage property values, harm sensitive wetlands and spread harmful noise and dust throughout the area, according to the lawsuit.

Klug Road resident Linda Schalk, one of the residents who filed the suit against the township in an interview called the board’s moves “illegal” and “beyond any logical or legal thought whatsoever.”

“We’re continually aggravated, frustrated and incredulous about the actions of our town board, that they’ve continued to take action every step of the way, illegally, to allow a landowner to do what they want,” Schalk said.

Schalk said residents and a Milton church who are mounting the lawsuit are in a fundraising campaign for the legal fight. The residents are also asking for a judgment that would force the town to repay their legal costs, according to the lawsuit.

But the bottom line for the residents is to convince the court to overturn the conditional-use permit for the pit, Schalk said.

“We’re done with our town not following the laws of the state and we’re going to fight them until it’s corrected,” she said.

For more on this story, read Thursday’s Gazette, The Gazette’s e-edition, or check back on gazettextra.com.

Last updated: 9:19 am Tuesday, July 9, 2013

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