Plan commission okays shale mine

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Putnam County Plan Commission voted unanimously Thursday night to allow Buzzi Unicem to mine shale on a tract of land in Cloverdale Township that is bordered on all sides by homesteads.

The controversial decision drew frustration and even tears from some of the three dozen homeowners who showed up to protest the move.

Larry Jones, Nancy Wells, Kevin Scobee, President Brian Gilmartin, Joe Mann and Gene Beck all voted to rezone the 135-acre tract of ground on County Road 1000 South near Indiana 243.

At last month's meeting surrounding homeowners raised several questions about what the mine will do to the quality of life on their properties -- including schedules and impacts of blasting, work schedules, increased truck traffic, noise and environmental impact.

Thursday night, Buzzi consultant Willie McGuire addressed the work hours issue. As it stands, work can go on at the site from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

He said crews would likely only work three to four days each week, though Buzzi reserves the right to mine the area for as much as six days per week.

Keith Best, an explosives consultant with Sauls Seismic of Hillard, Ohio, told Plan Commission members that homeowners will not feel the shockwaves from explosive charges.

And since Buzzi will only be blasting the material to sits on top of the shale, the explosives needed are much less powerful than those used in other operations like limestone mining, he said.

The shale itself will be pit mined with earthmovers.

The one real concession that Buzzi made was that it agreed to install a tire washer to reduce the dust and mud tracked onto county roads from the trucks.

Gilmartin limited the comments from the restless members of the public, allowing only input on the new information presented.

This left many of the homeowners who turned out feeling disenfranchised, they said.

Phyllis Brown, whose property borders the east side of the mine and who spearheaded much of the opposition, said she felt betrayed by the Plan Commission's decision.

"It was a done deal from the very beginning," she said with tears in her eyes.

But for their part, the board members said the decision weighed heavily on their minds and they felt like they made the right decision even though many of the surrounding residents were unhappy with their vote.

The Plan Commission is only an advisory board. The county commissioners have final approval of the rezoning permit, though Beck, who voted for the measure, is also a commissioner.

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  • Heaven help those residents who protested! Once again the planning and zoning commissions have failed to protect the peaceful life of citizens in the county. If this facility violates any of the restrictions placed upon them, NOTHING will be done to enforce them. I see results of their apathy from my own back yard every single day!

    -- Posted by mudpie on Fri, Dec 14, 2007, at 4:29 AM
  • I have a friend who converted one room of his house into a hair salon. He lived in town. Before he could open it as a business, he had to ask every neighbor within 600 ft for their blessing.

    I know that this quarry land is not in town, but this is a quiet rural area that people chose to live in. This particular board had to be aware of this fact, yet still voted in favor of the mining. I can't think of anyone in their right mind who would want semi's and dump trucks roaring back and forth past their homes.

    Who, besides Buzzi is going to benefit from such and operation? What could have motivated this board to vote unanimously for such an operation in these peoples yards?

    -- Posted by Xgamer on Fri, Dec 14, 2007, at 5:16 AM
  • i just want the commissioners to know that i, personally have already got over 30 people to vote out any who vote in this zoning, maybe this doesnt sound like alot, but how many can we have by the time re-election comes up. one can only believe that pockets are being lined in order to get this done, QUIT DESTROYING PEOPLES HOMES AND LIFESTYLES FOR PROFIT!!! maybe buzzi should have to buy out all homes in a 1 mile radius at double their value, let the home owners make a little profit for once

    -- Posted by usmalein on Fri, Dec 14, 2007, at 7:03 AM
  • So will Mr. Beck abstain from voting during the commissioners meeting. Maybe everyone should go to the commissioners meeting and check to see if he abstains.

    -- Posted by cty-govt-a-muck on Fri, Dec 14, 2007, at 9:45 AM
  • You can bet I won't abstain from voting OUT every incumbent on the ballot at the next election!

    -- Posted by mudpie on Tue, Dec 18, 2007, at 4:12 PM
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