Quarry conditions outlined
TOWN OF MILTON The town of Milton edged closer to a decision on a gravel quarry along North Klug Road, with its planning and zoning committee drafting a long list of conditions for the quarry Tuesday and authorizing its town attorney to formalize the list for further review at a meeting Monday, June 11.
The planning and zoning committee at that meeting could recommend to the town board whether to award a conditional-use permit, deciding the fate of a plan by B.R. Amon & Sons of Elkhorn and landowner Scott Traynor to develop a quarry on a glacial hill near wetlands and east of several residences along Klug Road.
The move came after town officials earlier had put the brakes on a decision on the quarry, telling Amon & Sons owner Tom Amon at a meeting last week that they wanted more information on his latest quarry plans.
It was Amon's second pitch for the quarry since the town board initially denied the project in February. Amon seeks to operate the quarry for up to five years to supply gravel to the Highway 26 bypass project and other nearby road construction projects.
Town officials spent nearly three hours Tuesday discussing and modifying a list of 18 conditions that Amon suggested in a project proposal. They include:
-- No blasting, no gravel washing, no well and no concrete mixing plant at the quarry.
-- Limited hours of operation at the quarry. Work could run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, with no operation on weekends.
-- Use of Klug Road by Amon and Sons to bring in earth-moving equipment. The machinery would be used to build an access road from the quarry north to County N across Otter Creek, on property owned by Scott Traynor.
-- A bonded reclamation plan from Amon to replace topsoil at the quarry site and restore the parcel for agricultural use.
-- No disturbing or filling of adjacent marsh areas. The areas must be protected by silt fences or dirt berms.
-- A speed restriction on the quarry access road to limit dust.
Amon had offered changes last month in an earlier quarry plan, which he says address public concerns over traffic and environmental impact of the proposed quarry.
As of Tuesday, the town clerk's office did not have on file any updated site drawings or plans showing the proposed changes. Yet on Tuesday evening, members of the town board and the planning and zoning committee had a full array of new site plans from Amon and Sons, which officials used as reference materials in discussions Tuesday.
When asked by The Gazette why those plans had not been made available to the public prior to the meeting, town Chairman Bryan Meyer said that Amon and Sons had mailed them directly to town officials on Monday.
Meyer said that the documents would be filed for public review soon, and he noted that the public already had been made aware of changes the town was seeking to the quarry plan.
"It was discussed in open public (at a hearing on May 14). The changes to those drawings were asked to be changed, and the changes are consistent with what was asked to be changed," Meyer said.
Several members of a grassroots group of residents who live along Klug Road and oppose the quarry were at the meeting Tuesday.
Klug Road resident Linda Schalk, spokeswoman for a neighbors group, said Tuesday that if the town board approves the quarry plan, the group will mount a legal fight, although she wouldn't specify when the group could file a lawsuit.
"We hired an attorney (Matthew Fleming of Madison) to protect the land, and we intend to do it," Schalk said.
The town's comprehensive plan shows the quarry area is environmentally sensitive. The town's zoning map had a wetland conservancy zoning overlay that blanketed the proposed quarry area and barred development of gravel quarries through its zoning rules.
The town board threw out the overlay in April, saying the land in question, a hillside, had the wrong grade and soil type to be considered a wetland.
If it gains town approval, the quarry would still need state and Rock County approval. State floodplains and county shoreland zoned areas blanket parts of the proposed quarry operation and Otter Creek, where Amon plans a quarry access road and a bridge.
Colin Byrnes, who handles zoning enforcement in Rock County, said the quarry plan would require approval from at least one if not multiple county committees for parts of the plan that deal with quarry traffic, access to County N and zoning.