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home : news : local   July 10, 2014

12/5/2013 6:56:00 AM
County to submit request for more public hearings on sand mine


Kevin Caufield
Staff Writer



OTTAWA — La Salle County Board members are scrambling to draft a resolution to request another public hearing regarding a proposed 500-acre sand mine project on the north side of Utica.

Development committee members passed a motion Wednesday to draft a resolution that would request Illinois Department of Natural Resources hold a public hearing to discuss the mine reclamation plan.

County zoning director Mike Harsted said the only legal influence the county has on a sand mine being annexed into a municipal boundary is to make such a request.

“All we have is an ability to make suggestions on what happens to the site when they’re done,” Harsted said. “The problem we have is a public hearing isn’t the best way to discuss it. We could have gone to the company months ago after we received a copy of their application.”

Aramoni LLC, an Oak Brook-based firm, intends to mine silica sand from the property located north of Love’s Travel Stop. Within its application is a brief, lightly-descriptive reclamation plan that calls for 30 acres of berm, an 80-acre lake and 120 acres of pasture. 

Committee members were mixed on their motivation for sending IDNR the request.

Mike Kasap (D-La Salle) argued heavily for writing a request to IDNR to discuss all mining reclamation plans, but the current request process requires the county to address specific mines and their reclamation plans.

“I think it’s very important to be proactive in protecting the environment and tourism concerning the future of mining in La Salle County,” he said. “We can’t do much about this one; but we can set a precedent on our expectations for future mining.”

Other committee members wanted to cite specific concerns in the resolution so that it would hold up to a legal challenge.

La Salle County Assistant State’s Attorney Mark Anderson advised the committee that they couldn’t pass a resolution at this meeting due to the Open Meetings Act, but the motion would allow for any committee meeting prior to the full board on Monday to pass a resolution.

A final vote on the IDNR request is expected to take place on the full board floor during their 6 p.m. Monday meeting.

Kevin Caufield can be reached at (815) 220-6932 or countyreporter@newstrib.com








Related Stories:
• Controversial sand quarry hearing halted until Jan. 15





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