The town of Sparta voted last night to hold a hearing March 6 on whether or not to pass a sand mining moratorium in the township. The approximately 50 people attending the meeting of the board of supervisors overwhelmingly voiced support for a moratorium. Late last year, the city of Sparta annexed a farm in the town of Sparta to speed approval of a sand mine that U.S. Silica will build and operate.
Howard Garves, town chair, said that at the March 6 meeting, the board will discuss the length of a moratorium. It could be four months, six months or a year. The town wants a moratorium to give it time to create a town of Sparta ordinance to govern sand mining in the town.
“It is not a zoning ordinance,” he said.
At last night’s meeting the board invited the public to give its views on a moratorium.
“They overwhelmingly said that they want a moratorium,” Garves said. “Our intention is the have the hearing and if it is the wish o the people at that time, based again on the hearing, then we will adopt it"
Those at the meeting also discussed reports of other sales of property in the town of Sparta to sand mines. These properties are near the U.S. Silica site, which used to be in the town of Sparta. The city of Sparta annexed the land at the request of the property owners to simplify the approval process for the sand mine. Jeff Jahn, mine planning and development manager for U.S. Silica, said that U.S. Silica is not the sand mine company that is trying to buy the properties that are either being sold or have options to sell on them.