Town taps consultant for pit plan
TOWN OF MILTON The gears are once again starting to move on talks about a controversial gravel pit plan.
The Milton Town Board on Monday tapped Cottage Grove firm Montgomery Associates Resource Solutions to carry out a probe of Elkhorn company B.R. Amon & Sons' conditional-use permit application for a gravel pit east of North Klug Road.
Under a tentative agreement, the town would have Montgomery Associates and environmental firms Taylor Conservation of Stoughton and Environmental Process Engineering and Compliance of Milwaukee analyze Amon and Sons' permit application and answer a set of environmental questions the town has compiled.
Town officials said the study is the final phase of what's been a nine-month process to decide whether to approve the 138-acre gravel pit, which would fuel road projects for at least three years.
The town would be the client for the study, but town officials have said they expect Amon & Sons to pay for the work.
Monday, the board authorized town attorney David Moore to draw up a contract requiring the gravel pit applicant pay for the study in order for it to move ahead.
Stephen Gaffield, a hydrologist with Montgomery Associates, estimated the firms' work could cost about $15,000. However, he said it's possible the cost could change if the study raises more questions about the plan, telling told town officials "it's pretty likely" that could happen.
Amon & Sons owner Tom Amon did not attend Monday's meeting. Mike Ettner, a project manager with the company, told the board Monday that officials were "on the right track" in choosing a firm to move forward with an analysis of the plan.
However, Ettner later told The Gazette he had no comment as to whether Amon & Sons would pay the full cost of the work.
Gaffield said Montgomery Associates has worked both with municipalities and gravel pit operators on analyzing quarry plans, including a plan for a pit near Verona.
The three firms would assess the proposed pit site and comb through Amon & Sons' application and county and town records to answer questions the town has about impact of the proposed pit. Questions include how much dust would be raised and what affect it could have on the nearby watershed and adjacent wetlands and wildlife.
Operations at the pit would flatten a glacial hill near dozens of residences and a state-protected environmental area.
Amon & Sons has said that after it has completed its work it would fill the pit area and prepare it for use as farmland.