In a vote that took place before a crowd of 60 or 70 people, the planning commission for the town of Little Falls voted 5 to 1 last week to recommend against allowing Onalaska-based Mathy Construction to build a sand mine on a 100-acre site at what was the Howard Pierce tree farm. The planning commission's vote was a recommendation only; it goes before the Town of Little Falls board on Wednesday night. The three voting members of the board will then make a decision on the sand mine. There was much concern about truck traffic. Mathy would truck sand on Hwy. 27, delivering either to a rail line in the city of Sparta or driving it to La Crosse to load it on a barge on the Mississippi. The route would mean trucks carrying tons of sand would be driving past the Sparta Senior High School and the Lawrence Lawson elementary school.
Tara Wetzel, an environmental manager for Mathy Construction, spoke about the mine; Mathy also showed did a slide presentation.
Planning committee members who voted against the sand mine were Don Herr, the town chair; Pat Nugent, Marge Peacock, Sue Van Geertruy and Douglas Moskonas. Wayne Turckalski voted for the mine. Town board members who will consider the mine Wednesday night are Herr, Bryan Olsen and Steve Matthews. That meeting will be in the Little Falls town hall, located on the edge of Cataract on County Truck I at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
The Monroe County zoning committee will take up the matter at a meeting at 6 p.m. Monday night at the auditorium in the county offices at Rolling Hills. The zoning committee will vote on the matter no matter what the town board's decision is. If the county zoning committee votes against the sand mine, the matter stops there. If the county zoning committee approves it, the town board has 21 days to veto decision and the matter stops there, according to Alison Elliot, director of the Monroe County zoning office.