The fate of a conditional use permit (CUP) for the rock quarry in Osceola town remains unknown after a day of evidence and testimony last week. Certification will expire on June 29 and a decision may be issued on the same day or later.
The Polk County Environmental Services Commission (ESC) held a public hearing June 1 at the Justice Center Community Chamber in Lake Balsam to consider CUP for a rock quarry construction in the city of Osceola.
The CUP application was filed by landowners Glenn, Cindy Thurman, James, Jane Rushford, Mike and Laura Loescher on behalf of the Blue Rock Quarry.
Jason Kjesth, Polk County District Manager, began the hearing with a discussion about the CUP application and the contents of the application.
“At the conclusion of this hearing, the committee may act on the conditional use authorization request and the committee may also continue with the public hearing,” Kjesth explained. “A public notice has been published in the local newspaper and a notice has also been sent to property owners within 300 feet of all affected parcels.
“Many of you know that there was a similar application that started in October 2008. There was an original CUP request to repartition some land from commercial to agricultural,” he said, “The three parties involved were Glenn Thurman, James Rushford and William Johnson. There was a review in 2009 and it was reinstated.” Submission. In 2010 a decision was made on this application. At that time, the application was rejected.
Kjesth explained that the new application is asking for 10 acres in 10 years to get started. Future growth will require 30 acres over 30 years. Access will be outside County Road F and MM, with access from both sides but some items can leave by rail as well.
The app also mentions three other non-metallic mines close to the property. Dresser Trap Rock is located 1.5 miles to the northwest of the property. This is an existing quarry with blasting and normal operations that you can see at the Blue Rock Quarry if approved. Both the Rite-way Gravel and Haas Gravel are gravel pits that will not be blasted. The gravel pits may have some crushing but that is the main difference. The Rite-way is located approximately one mile west of the proposed property. Haas Gravel is located a quarter of a mile southeast of the proposed site.
“When we look at non-metallic mines, there are many branches and regulators that come into play. I will show how each government unit operates,” Kjeseth said, “the DNR has standards for sound, vibration (such as blasting requirements) and storm water that is handled by Pollution disposal permits. For Polk County zoning, we are looking at land use and whether or not such use is permitted for that zoning classification. We will be the one who works in any conditions, imposes any conditions, and takes care of any special health system and facilities.
“Polk County Land and Water Resources will review the quarry application. We’ve had a reclamation law since 2001 and there are linkage requirements as part of that plan. Our Land and Water company also operates NR-151 for the rainwater management site (eg driveways etc.)
“The City of Osceola has an ordinance for nuisance and noise, so if they have special decimal restrictions that may apply, or whatever they specify is a nuisance it is enforced by the Town of Osceola.
“In 2009, the city enacted a Non-Metallic Mineral Mining License Act. It may come into play. And in 2017, the Village of Dresser and the Town of Osceola created a Cooperative Boundary Agreement for the Extraterritorial Zoning Authority. Extraterritorial zoning typically applies in the 1.5 range A mile from an incorporated city or village,” Keggseth said. “Dresser Village has that and the parcels are within a mile and a half.
“Any non-metallic or mineral mine must meet the requirements of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). There are many requirements for mines mainly for the health and safety of the public throughout the area. For example, having closed entrances, training of personnel and operators.”
The 2022 application lists the property as Parcels A (042-00294-0000) owned by Rochford, Inc. Since 1946. Parcels B, C, D, G (042-00293-0000, 042-00297-0000,042-00297- 0100, 042-00291-1000). Parcels B, C and D are partly divided and owned by rail.
Parcel G is owned by Bendithion, LLC. Prior to 2011, the property was owned by Glenn and Cindy Thurman.
Parcels E, F (042-00295-0000, 042-00289-0000) has been owned by Scarlet Stone, LLC since 2011. Prior to 2011, the property was owned by William Johnson.
In January 2022, the Economic and Social Council received a letter submitted by Rochford, Thurman, and Loescher thanking the commission for considering CUP Agricultural’s request to restart a former quarry operation, “that will bring revenue and jobs to Polk County and potentially benefit parks.” Lakes and Trails.
The letter refers to a previous 2009 summary report from the town of Osceola. A previous report indicating the positive and negative features was prepared and submitted by the city council which incorporates a large volume of material into seven main categories. We believe that the advantages and disadvantages listed along with our mitigation and alternatives are a good basis for reviewing the application… Some points do not require mitigation, others have been disproved due to incorrect assumptions and some have prompted us to change the terms to meet various interests.
“Today we find ourselves on a path to clearing anti-quarrying speculation through WI 2017 Act 67, and the 2009 DNR Registry Status issued/renewed to protect property will be announced for what it means to truly protect natural resources. Starting with ten acres of active quarrying operations over ten Years… Our new footprint removes concerns about Lotus Lake, private wells and excessive noise. Operation will be on weekdays only, no nights or in the winter months.” The letter concludes: “We request the Economic and Social Council (ESC) to follow the science of superior experts, to follow the WI Act for the Protection and Promotion of Registered Mineral Deposits and to issue this Authorization.”
At last week’s public hearing, the Blue Rock Quarry submitted documents to address concerns expressed in a city summary report that rejected the original request and introduced mitigation measures. The new application includes certain conditions that applicants wish to comply with.
“Previous 2009 Town of Osceola Briefing for Strength and Concerns Responded. Each of the seven items was processed and each was either mitigated, did not require mitigation, or was incorrect. This property has been properly labeled, has DNR registration status, has or will meet all required criteria and limits and has used unbiased and unquestioned experts to ensure the science. The benefits to the community and the county are significant and include jobs and tax revenue.”
Comparing the 2009 quarry application, the 2022 application provides more grounds for approval. The new mitigation measures proposed by Blue Rock are as follows: No night or weekend operation. The process will start between March 15 and November 15. Hours of operation will be 7am to 6pm Monday through Friday (except in cases of potential railcar loading).
Other mitigation measures include: 16 inch berms to the north and as needed to mitigate noise, and a water sedimentation basin constructed for runoff, water treatment and reclamation plans.
The updated app states that there will be sound below 55 decibels in any accommodation during the day. The site will be an active quarry with a minimum distance of 1,300 feet to any accommodation. The depth of the quarry will be at or above the surface of the Lotus Lake and over any wells area. The application is for an initial period of 10 years. Limited trucks will be used and scheduled primarily across three county highway routes.
Decision of Osceola Town 2009
A resolution from the Town of Osceola states that “On August 4, 2009, Kraemer Mining and Materials submitted a revised Special Exception Permit (SEP) application to operate a 61-acre quarry and a 28-acre processing and storage area on a total 187-acre leased site in the Town of Osceola. In a vote of five to One in September of 2009, the Osceola Township Planning Commission recommended that the city council recommend rejecting a revised SUP to the Polk County Land Information Commission.
At its October 2009 city meeting, the Board considered the following information relating to the proposed quarry operation, which is subject to a revised SUP request. The following items were considered: noise, dust, truck traffic, private well concerns, non-compliant land use concerns, residential density, and finally non-compliance with the 1998 land use plan.
The city council has also revised the Polk County zoning code which sets out the criteria for SUP review and states that any approval must be based on such evidence … tends to demonstrate desire and unwillingness in the public interest due to factors such as: smoke, dust, harmful and toxic gases and odors, and noise Vibrations, heavy equipment operation, heavy vehicle traffic, and increased traffic.
At that time the city found that the SEP should be rejected because use of the proposed quarry would create undesirable conditions as noted above. The Board of Supervisors found that the above reasons for the Land Information Commission’s recommendation to reject the proposed SEP application were supported on record and further found that the proposed application would be contrary to public health, safety and welfare. Therefore, based on the findings, the city council has recommended that the Polk County Information Commission reject the request.”
As noted earlier in this article, during the June public hearing, attendees were informed that the hearing may conclude an end-of-day buy but if it is determined that more time or information is needed, the hearing will be scheduled for another day.
Due to the volume of materials being submitted by the county and applicants and due to the number of people registered to testify, ESC has been postponed for the day. Another public hearing was scheduled for June 29, 2022.
Evidence presented prior to the June 1 public hearing, is the evidence that establishes the public record. No additional evidence or requests for public comment will be accepted. The information in the record before June 1 is what the decision will be based on.
SUN will receive testimony from the first part of the hearing next week.