The Sparta City Council voted six to two last night to deny all appeals and okayed a conditional use permit for the mine. It voted to approve a conditional use permit for the mine, despite several appeals to delay approval in order to learn more about the sand mine and its impact on health and other concerns. Another pointed to precedents set by other municipalities in the area with sand mines. These municipalities have charged sand mines fees or gotten property value guarantees from sand mines.
Five people had filed appeals against the city planning commission's approval of the mine. One appeal pointed to the agreement the town of Greenfield negotiated with the sand mine going in near Tunnel City. The town will collect 15 cents per ton annually, amounting to an estimated $250,000 each year, as a precedent Sparta could follow. Others expressed concern about depreciating property values and gave the board copies of an agreement including such provisions that the town of Howard in nearby Chippewa County made with a sand mine there.
The two council members who voted in favor of the appeal were Connie Anderson and Ed Lukasek. Those voting to deny the appeal were Ron Button, Jim Church, Carlos Holcomb, Norman Stanek, Dan Hellman and Kevin Riley. Click here to read the Monroe County Democrat's coverage of that meeting. One note: there is an error in both the head line and story. Tony Angelini was not ejected from the meeting.