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The page is dedicated to news rearding information on the MDNRE/Aggregate Industries

 


Resolutions 11-2013

Township Sand & Gravel Review Committee Members

Bill Richardson

Doug Lance

Dale Robinson

Peggy Beals

 

 

 

Answers to Questions

Who do I contact if I have further questions or desire more information on the Status of the 6(f)(3) conversion process and the DNRE's conversion procedures? Based on the nature of you enquiry, contact the following persons for assistance. We look forward to hearing from you!

  • Park planning, programming and land use issues.
  • Status of the 6(f)(3) conversionprocess and the DNRE's conversion.
    • Shamika T. Askew-Storay, Grants Management, Administration Division
    • 517-241-3128
    • askews2@michigan.gov
  • Real estate valuation, deed restrictions or conveyance of rights in land.

The public comment period will begin on February 14, 2011 and end on March 15, 2011.Written comments received from public will be submitted to the National Park Service with the DNRE’s LWCF application.

Public Notice

Environmental Assessment

and

Land and Water Conservation Fund 6(f) Conversion Application

Available for Public Review

Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment

Public Notice

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) is making application to the National Park Service to convert 72.44 acres of the 21,046-acre Waterloo Recreation Area from public recreation and replace it with 324 acres of adjacent private land that will be gifted to the State by Aggregate Industries, in exchange for a non-metallic mineral lease. Past use of federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LCWF) funding for projects within the Waterloo Recreation Area requires that the DNRE seek NPS approval for the conversion. The DNRE is requesting public comment on the environmental assessment that was completed for the proposed conversion.

The 72.44 parcel is parts of S 1/2 Section 1and the N 1/2 of Section 12, T2S, R2E, Waterloo Township, Jackson County Michigan.

Initially 87 of the 324 acres of replacement land will be open for public recreation. At the conclusion of the non-metallic mineral lease, the entire 324 acre replacement property and 72.44 acre converted property will be reclaimed, ecologically restored and returned to public recreation as part of the Waterloo Recreation Area.

Approximately eight to nine million tons of sand and gravel will be mined from the 72.44 acre parcel. This will be an extension of the existing Aggregate Industries mine. Aggregate Industries will pay a market rate royalty for the minerals to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. Royalty payments are expected to be between seven and eight million dollars.

The public is invited to review and provide written comment on the environmental assessment and proposed LWCF conversion application. The environmental assessment, application and many supporting informational documents are available for review at www.michigan.gov/waterloo.

The public comment period will begin on February 14, 2011 and end on March 15, 2011.Written comments received from public will be submitted to the National Park Service with the DNRE’s LWCF application.

Questions about the proposal should be directed to Paul Yauk, Lands Coordinator for DNRE’s Recreation Division, at 517-335-4824 or by e-mail at yaukp@michigan.gov .

__________________________________________________________________________________________

September 8, 2010 NEWS RELEASE AI/MDNRE Proposal from the MDNRE - please go to http://michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10371_10402---,00.html

September 8, 2010

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment will host a public meeting to provide information on a proposal to accept a gift of 324 acres of land to Waterloo Recreation Area, and enter into a 10-year lease agreement to allow mining of sand and gravel on 72.44 acres in the recreation area in Jackson County.

Recreation Division and DNRE staff will present an overview of the plan to lease 72.44 acres of Waterloo Recreation Area to Aggregate Industries in exchange for 324 acres of land. This meeting will allow the public to discuss the following:

* Vision for this area

* Site restoration and stewardship plan for the 324 acres, which is a former gravel pit

* Required federal 6(f)3 conversion process

* Project time frame

* Next steps in this review process

The meeting will be held on Monday, Sept. 27, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center, 17030 Bush Road, near Chelsea. Those unable to attend the meeting may send comments to Paul Yauk, Land Programs Manager, DNRE Recreation Division, P.O. Box 30257, Lansing, Michigan 48909 or by e-mail to yaukp@michigan.gov.

Please see the link below (NPS letter to the MDNRE) under links at the bottom of this page regarding a communication dated July 13, 2010 from Elyse R. LaForset, Program Manager Federal Lands to Parks Program to C. Edwin Meadows, Section Chief of Real Estate Services Office of Land and Facilities Department of Natural Resources and Environment regarding the proposed land transaction between the state of Michigan and Aggregate Industries.

The following questions were submitted by Alan Radka - Township and MDNRE answers are in red.

During the past six months evasive answers have only angered residents within the ½ mile circle of A.I. and DNRE. Now that the DNRE has empowered themselves to venture into leasing mineral rights/gravel and sand extraction classified as a mineral: many questions still remain:

1. How can the agency that controls environmental evaluations not do one themselves, claiming cost too high! That’s not an option; the Township ordinance should be amended so everyone has to comply including the DNRE.

a. From the twp: Which ordinance? If it is the extraction ordinance that is being referred to, it does not discuss any special allowances for the DNRE or anyone else.

b. From the DNRE: 1. Environmental evaluations are not done on typical non-metallic
mineral leases, the Department look at the Natural Features Inventory
to review impacts to the park environment, in particular, the oak wood
lot to the north of the existing mining site was avoided because of
this review.

2. Does the Attorney General’s office agree with the contract between the DNRE and A.I.? Does 19 years of mining over 75 more acres lead to 100 more, 200 more until the whole section (640 acres) become one pit connecting to Clare Wahl’s pit? Is there a written “road map” provided to the Township in detail involving extraction as well as reclaiming that includes a time table? No. When does Green Road close?

a. From the Twp: No “roadmap” has been provided to the township. The township has no information regarding the closure of Green Road.

b. From the DNRE: 1. The leasing contract and gift has been approved by the Attorney
General, Governor's Ad Board and the Natural Resources and
Transportation Board, b. The lease document is clear regarding the
length of years and terms of the 72.44 acre lease, c. There has not
been a final determination of the future of Green Road. It may or may
not be closed. The process will follow the same road closure process
any other road closure process would follow.

3. Has anyone from the Township contacted Department of Interior Representatives concerning the deed restriction on the tract of property north of Green Road? That deed clearly states the property to be extracted is to be left alone, as is, and kept in a park like condition or is that something else a judge must rule on?

a. From the DNRE: 1. The Department of Interior and Department of Natural Resources and Environment have been in contact on this issue for a number of
years, we believe that there is a clear public benefit in the addition
of 324 acres into the park along with no net loss of public open space
during the term of the lease.

4. Will the Township committee (which committee?) inform the public in a timely manner beginning NOW? What information is it that is being requested? There are plenty of opportunities to become informed on the topic of gravel pit operations to individuals who are interested in hearing about them. All gravel permit applications are reviewed by an extraction committee (in a meeting that is open to the public), a board meeting (another public meeting), and a planning commission meeting in the event of a new parcel (a third public meeting). A forth public meeting would be required in the case of a new parcel (for a new special use permit) and that would be a public hearing. All of these meetings are posted ahead of time, open to the public and meeting minutes are published in the local paper as well as on the township website. Lastly, the DNRE held its own workshop and site review specifically so Waterloo residents could ask questions about the pending deal with A.I. As A.I. completes the removal of material at the Dault property and June is now here, does the Township plan to grant the permit to A.I. to start mining the new area? The township has not even received a permit application to mine any new “area”. If an application is received, it would go through the same procedure outlined above. If not now, and the court eventually rules on the behalf of A.I. when will mining the new tract begin? The township cannot possibly provide timing for an operation it has not received an application for.

5. Is there a bond set aside from A.I. for residents of Clear Lake who may lose their well water due to A.I. extraction on state land. No, the only bonds are ones established to reclaim the property in the case of A.I leaving without reclaiming the property. However, the township has required A.I. to install 5 monitoring wells, beginning in 2002 (when the new extraction ordinance was adopted). A.I. has reported the levels in these monitoring wells, along with the water levels of Pond Lilly Lake & Clear Lake once per year from 2002 to 2007 and once/month since 2007. This data shows that the water levels in all of these areas have remained constant, or increased since the monitoring began some 8 years ago. IF extraction were to be permitted on an expanded area, additional monitoring wells would most likely be required.

6. When does the Township give property tax relief for residents inside the ½ mile circle? The AI mine has existed in its present location for decades, why is it believed that only now would it affect the property values? (Please also see below for how much of your property tax dollars actually go to the township). To deny and defer to the State Tax tribunal is morally wrong. The DNRE and A.I. could care less and the Township is right there with them. You obviously do not have your facts straight. When your neighbors on Harvey Lane were fighting an expansion to their back doors a year ago, the Township denied AI’s an extraction permit for the Dault parcel. AI took the township to court and won (Judge Schmucker in Jackson County Circuit Court). The township then appealed the ruling and lost that as well. Beyond this, the township contacted Michigan Township Association for legal support to fight this battle. Furthermore, the township has strengthened its extraction ordinance to:

a. Alleviate a potential risk for bus stop issues for the Harvey lane residents by delaying the start time from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.

b. Clarify the sequence of events for mining a new area so that fencing is put up first and immediately.

c. Adding language that will not allow active mining to occur along two separate property lines of a single residential parcel.

d. Eliminating a clause that allowed ‘grandfathering’ of existing non-conforming grades and setbacks.

And if there are residents that think Waterloo Township’s extraction ordinance is inadequate, we recommend you do some research and find out what kind of ordinances exist in surrounding townships. And you can thank citizens before you (some of whom are now on the twp board and planning commission) for this.

There wasn’t any delay increasing property taxes a few years ago. The township gets roughly 3 percent of your property tax, so if you pay $3000/year, the township receives approximately $90.

It is a different standard when the shoe is on the other foot. Stop the excuses, the truth is clear, our values have suffered due to the meltdown and now we have no hope of recovery thanks to the DNRE, A.I., and now Waterloo Township.

Alan Radka

Clear Lake resident within the ½ mile circle

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dear Waterloo Resident,

First I want to say it is an honor to serve you as supervisor of Waterloo Township and I appreciate this opportunity to address some of the issues that are before us.

As a way of background, the Waterloo Township Board has spent enormous time and resources enforcing the townships extraction and related zoning ordinances this past year. We have made great strides as evidenced by the restoration of the slope on Aggregate Resource’s site as viewed going north on Clear Lake Road. We also were aware that there were ongoing negotiations between both of the current gravel operations in our township and the state of Michigan for some time. This has not been a secret to anyone paying attention to the issue or that has attended past board meetings. I want to be absolutely clear on this issue – the township has never been part of any negotiations or informed of the details of any proposed lease prior to the public release (dated November 2009) from the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE).

You may already be aware, Aggregate Industries in 2008 applied to expand their operations onto a small parcel of land to the west that did not meet our ordinance standards. The township board voted unanimously to deny the application. Aggregate Industries took the township to circuit court. The judge ruled in favor of Aggregate Industry allowing them to extend their mining onto this property. The board promptly voted unanimously to appeal the judge’s decision. The request to hear the appeal was recently denied. Throughout the process board members have worked closely with residents affected by the expansion in an effort to address their complaints and see that the ordinance is followed. Either at night or on the weekends the board made themselves available to hear complaints and witness firsthand the violations.

In early December 2009 I received a notice from the DNRE dated November 30, 2009. It was a public notice in regards to a lease (sand and gravel) mineral rights to Aggregate Industries. The notice outlined the procedure for public comment along with the direction to place the notice in a public area in the township office until January 7, 2010. I was keenly aware of the impact that this transaction would have on the township and the document was immediately scanned and placed on our website and copies of the notice posted at all of the approved township notice locations to notify residents as soon as possible. I then placed a call to the DNRE to seek a meeting to discuss the proposal in detail.

In discussions with the DNRE, we received additional information that we posted on the website. I also contacted local press as I wanted to ensure the word got out on the proposal so that anyone who wanted to comment could. (The details of the lease are available on the townships website or if you do not have access to the internet can be provided by calling the office.) The proposal involves Aggregate Industry gifting their current 324 acre site to the DNRE but retaining their right to continue mining and gravel operations linked to leasing an additional 72 plus acres from the state to extend mining and prolong their operations. The DNRE has long range plans for the property to be restored to their specifications in phases to allow the restored areas to be available for public recreation. While many of their proposals seem sensible, others are controversial, such as their proposal to close Green Road at the site to create a lookout over the restored area.

In attempting to get the message out on the proposal and because rumors of the project were surfacing, I requested that the DNRE come to the January regular board meeting to discuss the project and to answer questions. As this process was moving forward the board along with residents submitted thirty plus question to the DNRE to be answered before the meeting. (Also available on the website) It was my expectation that with these questions and their answers we would have the opportunity for follow up questions. I also attended the Natural Resource Commission (NRC) in January along with Ted Beals, Planning Commission member who gave a detailed presentation as a citizen on concerns with the proposal. I expressed to NRC the Board’s ongoing commitment to enforce the ordinance with Aggregate Industries and if the project were to be approved by them that before any work begins that it is an absolute necessity to have a mechanism in place to respond to the resident’s concerns and resolve issues and ordinance violations. At that meeting the Director of the DNRE declared her intent to approve the project.

I want to reiterate, the township board doesn’t have a vote on the proposal. It is strictly up to the DNRE and state agencies to negotiate the proposal. The actual language of the lease was made available for the first time at the January board meeting. It specifically requires compliance with all township ordinances and standards. The township retains authority over the permit process and the operation if the proposal moves forward. There are many questions still to be answered and issues that need to be addressed. Recently the township board and Zoning Officer opened a line of communication with the point person from the DNRE. We provided background on issues from the past and items that need to be addressed before an application or a permit renewal on current operations are submitted. We are in the process of setting up a regular time at each of the monthly board meetings for an update on the proposal and for questions that may arise from the board and the public to be addressed. As the DNRE’s spokesman Paul Yauk stated at the January board meeting everything is not set in stone and can be adjusted moving forward.

One obvious issue moving forward is that the township’s zoning ordinance doesn’t allow mining in the proposed 72 acres of state land. Our Zoning Officer has no choice but to deny the application. The only recourse is an application to the township Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to hear the case and for the public to comment on the proposal. If the ZBA denies granting relief from the ordinance the applicant’s only choice is to seek relief in circuit court. Make no mistake the board and the applicant is aware of the situation and fully understands their options.

I, Bill Richardson (Township Trustee) chair of the Sand and Gravel Review Committee and Zoning Officer Dan Walsh and others when required will be meeting regularly to ensure that all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed on the applications process. The townships sand and gravel screening committee will be meeting to openly discuss any and all permits, renewals and proposals before the township board even receives the issue. Residents have a chance to express concerns and to ask questions throughout the entire process in the coming months. We will also continue to post information on our website and in the minutes of our meeting in the Sun Times. Meeting notices are posted on our website and at the townships approved posting sites.

As a side note the board and planning commission will be discussing FEMA’s Flood Plain Insurance Program. The board asked in December for the planning commission to review the materials and present their findings at the January meeting. Further investigation is being completed by the planning commission. This issue will directly affect you as the Clear Lake area was identified on FEMA’s maps as one of the areas of concern in the township.

In closing, I and the township board continue to stand behind our mission statement:

Listening to residents, focusing on solutions.

With appreciation,

Mike Sadler

Waterloo Township Supervisor