TOWN OF TROY | Ongoing vocal objections from residents in the Town of Troy successfully stopped the town’s plan commission from changing its zoning in order to pave the way for a new gravel quarry on 60 acres near Schauer Road and Highway 60.
The commission unanimously opposed the request during its Aug. 26 meeting. Plan commission chairman Greg Sprecher told property owners Scott and Linda Fuchs the commission had to abide by the wishes of the town residents.
Unlike a plan commission meeting in April during which about 100 people voiced their opinions, there were less than 20 people in the audience including the Fuchs and Bob Jewell, a representative of the Kraemer Company, which would have operated the quarry.
The rezone to general agriculture would be necessary before applying for a permit for the quarry because such uses are prohibited under exclusive agriculture zoning.
Objections raised included concerns over increased truck traffic on Highway 60, potential noise, impacts on water quality and the precedent of what some called “spot zoning.”
“The district of exclusive ag was adopted in 1986,” town resident Charity Armstrong said. “So it’s been in place for 30 years. It’s been an important tool in maintaining the rural character of our town. This property lies deep within one of the largest uninterrupted habitats in our township. It’s a very special place. Be careful about granting a variance because it sets a precedent.”
“We’re concerned about increased traffic on Highway 60,” nearby resident Brooke Milde said. “It’s very close to our home and it affects our quality of life with the traffic that goes by. The other concern is water quality. None of the data I’ve seen, which has been very minimal, has in any way addressed our concerns about that. My feeling is they just don’t know. Why take a risk?”
Town resident Matt Millen said the quarry proposal conflicts with a 2004 survey of town residents in which he said 70 percent responded they did not favor a quarry or favored a quarry with restrictions.
No one in the audience except Jewell spoke in favor of the rezone from what is now categorized as exclusive agriculture to general agriculture.
“Spot zoning has been mentioned several times,” Jewell said. “There have been other properties rezoned and no one considered that spot zoning. It’s not uncommon. You don’t lose your ability to govern by rezoning.”
Jewell said there were studies that showed gravel quarries have no impact on ground water, and that there are no chemicals used.
“We do use petroleum,” Jewell said. “There is a process to clean that up and we clean it up immediately.”
Jewell added that a quarry had operated on the site more than 50 years ago.
“It was listed as a very good gravel source in your comprehensive plan,” Jewell said.
But it was the comprehensive plan that was left to interpretation by the town plan commissioners.
The plan calls for the operation of one quarry in the town, and one already exists on CTH C.
“It doesn’t fit into this plan to have two,” plan commission chairman Greg Sprecher said. “We’ve beat around the bush long enough, but being that this is written in the comprehensive plan and with the comments we’ve heard, I feel our job is to do what represents the people the best. That may or may not be our decision personally but that’s our job.”
Sprecher made the motion to deny the rezone.