Board, committee deny Town of Milton quarry plan
Opponents of a proposed gravel mine in Milton Township appear confident the proposal will remain off the table after being denied by town officials. Town officials say the Klug Road quarry would be located in a conservation zone, which makes it unavailable for gravel mining. Kyle Geissler reports.
MILTON TOWNSHIP A quarry developer won't be mining gravel along Klug Road—at least not for now.
In a joint meeting Monday, the Milton Town Board and the planning and zoning committee denied a conditional-use permit request for a 138-acre gravel quarry along North Klug Road.
In front of a crowd of 75 people, members of the planning committee and the town board told developer B.R. Amon & Sons of Elkhorn the town was rejecting the company's request because the quarry would be located in a conservation overlay that doesn't allow gravel mining.
As reported previously in The Gazette, the quarry would be east of Klug Road, adjacent to a state wetland, and in a town-designated C-1 lowland conservancy district—a zoning district intended to protect marsh areas.
Under town ordinance, C-1 zoning doesn't specifically allow gravel quarries.
Town planning committee member Scott Barker said Monday that because the quarry does not conform to the C-1 conservancy "there does not seem to be any way to fulfill it within conditional uses or permitted uses."
Amon and Sons applied for the permit along with landowner Scott Traynor of Milton. The company seeks to have a quarry near the Highway 26 bypass project, which the company could then supply with gravel.
Amon and Sons President Tom Amon told The Gazette on Monday that the company is considering contesting the board's decision. According to town ordinances, the company could ask the town's board of adjustment for an appeal of the ruling.
Amon and Sons engineer Ron Peterson argued that C-1 zoning "doesn't pertain" to the proposed quarry area because it doesn't have the proper soil types for the designation.
The proposed quarry would be adjacent to Storrs Lake Wildlife Area, a state wetland. However, Peterson pointed out that spots where the company plans to dig are on a hillside.
"We're not in a wetland situation," Peterson said during a public hearing after the board's decision was announced. "I think we can all have enough common sense to know a gravel hill is not a wetland."
Amon said the company also is considering asking the town to re-zone the property. He said the company is not immediately looking at other land as an option to develop a quarry.
"We felt that this was the best site amongst many out in this region (for supplying gravel) to build Highway 26," Amon said.
The town planning and zoning committee had tabled a decision on the quarry plan after a public hearing Jan. 9, when dozens of residents questioned the plan.
Some residents have concerns about the company's plan to route heavy truck traffic from the quarry onto North Klug Road, while others questioned the impact on the environment and on quality of life and property values for those living nearby. Still others questioned whether the town's zoning rules would even allow the quarry.
The proposed quarry also would overlap an area Rock County has zoned for shoreland protection. Using that would require a conditional-use permit.
Linda Schalk, one of a group of citizens along Klug Road who opposes the quarry, had mailed binders filled with town zoning rules to members of the board and planning committee.
Schalk said she was gratified the town board and the planning committee "did their due diligence and decided that it was an invalid (conditional-use application)."
A few residents spoke against the board's decision Monday.
John Bergman said opponents' fears of dust and traffic from quarry operations are overblown. He said those concerns are outweighed by the area's need for jobs and "every bit of taxes it can get."
"Rock County is deep in unemployment," Bergman said.
"That pit would put people working there."