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Archive for Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Quarry allowed to change mining schedule

June 5, 2013

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Douglas County commissioners said Wednesday that the operators of the Big Springs Quarry near Lecompton can mine that area in any sequence they want, regardless of how the various sections are numbered on their permit.

That came as a disappointment to nearby property owners who said the change would disrupt plans they had made for their property.

"We want them to follow the sequence that was set up so we feel some certainty," said Robert Best, who owns land that will be mined next as a result of the change. "We don't know what they're going to ask for next. We're afraid we'll have to come up here every year."

The controversy dates back to the original permit that Douglas County issued in 1990, when the quarry was operated by Martin Marietta. It divided the 720-acre portion of the quarry lying within Douglas County into six separate areas, or "phases," and required the company to mine and reclaim one phase at a time before moving to the next.

The permit identifies each of those areas and labels them as Phases 1 through 6. In 1992, an additional 80-acre tract was added to the permit, and it was labeled Phase 1A.

In 2006, the operation was transferred to Mid-States Materials LLC, which now operates the quarry. But Mid-States argued that there was never any requirement that the areas be mined in sequential order according to their phase numbers.

As a result, in February, Mid-States sent out notices that it intended to move from the Phase 3 area to the Phase 6 area, which abuts the Shawnee County line. The reason, it said, was so the company could mine an adjacent tract in Shawnee County at the same time and service both areas with a single haul road.

Several nearby property owners objected, saying the change in phasing schedule would interfere with plans they had made for their properties.

But Commissioners Jim Flory and Mike Gaughan sided with Mid-States.

"The word 'phase' seems to be confusing people," Flory said. "It does not mandate completion of quarrying in any particular order."

Commissioner Nancy Thellman, however, sided with the neighboring property owners, saying she thought it was clear from the record that the phases were meant to go in sequential order.

Flory and Gaughan voted for a motion to amend the permit to make clear that the separate phases could be mined in any order, as long as Mid-States adheres to other terms of the permit, including the requirement to finish reclamation on each phase before moving to another.

The motion passed, 2-1, with Thellman dissenting.

Comments

weatherman 1 year, 2 months ago

My advise to you folks fighting this change to the conditional use permit (CUP) would be to explore what, if any, permits were obtained from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for this quarry. As the applicant has stated they are looking to "simultaneously" mine two section of the mine. Depending on the conditions contained in the original air construction permit or approval, assuming one was obtained for the quarry, such a change could be considered a change in the method of operation requiring the original air permit to be amended or potentially an air permit issued. Building additional haul roads, installing additional conveying and loading equipment, increasing crusher throughput may trigger the requirement for an air construction permit or approval. The conveyors and crushing equipment also are subject to considerably lower opacity limitation than those listed in the CUP.

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Hadley_says 1 year, 2 months ago

Or maybe people who buy property next to a quarry which actually exists and is being mined should not later complain that the quarry exists.

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integritycounts 1 year, 2 months ago

Common sense prevails...for a change. Listen folks we have to have rock for concrete, asphalt and general construction and it has to be close to the markets. If not here then where? Does it make a rats difference if they are mining 200ft one way or another so long as they are in a permitted area????This area has been mining rock for over 20 years...I would be willing to guess there are plenty of regulations that exist to make this operation a "good neighbor" to all the people that moved in after it was opened. Good job commission!

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ksgardener 1 year, 2 months ago

Why have the phases numbered if there was not an original plan? Why not mine in the order the phases were numbered by a highly paid cad operator and geologist?

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gr 1 year, 2 months ago

Umm..... You have more than one "phase".

You need to refer to them.

If they had used letters instead of numbers, you would still say they imply order.

Maybe if they used names. Like..... Alligator, Kangaroo, Raccoon? But no, you would say they should do them in alphabetical order.

So how would you suggest they should be referred to if indeed the original intent was not to imply order but only that one phase at a time should be done?

As far as the property owners, is this a case of a "taking" or is this a case of the property had an easement the owners now or previously had given and everything was well known that the quarry could make use of it?

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