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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Commission sends quarry application back to planners

Updated: Apr 30

MOUND CITY – On Monday, April 15, the Linn County Commission voted to send a recommendation to approve a quarry on 2400 Road just east of Valley Road back to the county’s planning and zoning commission to add more conditions. 

The move came following a 30-minute discussion during which the county Planning and Zoning Director Darin Wilson read the articles of the zoning regulations that supported approval of the quarry.

After that discussion, Commission Chair Jason Hightower moved to approve the quarry with the findings and conditions recommended by the planning board. But neither Johnson nor Commissioner Danny McCullough would second the motion.

As Wilson went through the conditions, he explained why they were made by the planning board to protect the adjoining landowners around the quarry. He had presented this to them earlier in writing but commissioners asked that he read them aloud. 

McCullough said that he had read on the internet that it was possible for the landowners to be compensated for the quarry being there. 

Linn County Attorney Burton Harding, acting as the interim county counselor, said that, in this instance, the county was looking at a conditional use permit (CUP) and the regulations allow the permit to be approved.

He said that conditions could be put on the CUP, but compensating the landowners seemed a little farfetched. He thought that, if there was a problem, it would be more of a civil issue between the landowner and the quarry.

McCullough said, “As a commissioner, yes I do want to get business here, but I am here for the people. I feel like that’s my job is to protect the people.”

That’s why you are here to approve or not approve, said Harding.

Hightower asked McCullough, “Which people, Danny?”

McCullough answered the entire county. “Have I ever been just about my district?” asked McCullough. He also asked about the procedure of a public hearing for the quarry.

Wilson explained that the public hearing for a CUP is held at the planning and zoning meeting, where it is then voted on and recommended to the commissioners. 

McCullough said, “And yet we stopped the entire solar project because of public opinion. I don’t see how that is fair.”

McCullough asked what the protest petition was good for. 

Wilson explained that in most instances – except when it came to surface mining or quarries – a protest petition would require the CUP to be passed by a ¾ vote of the commission rather than a 2/3 vote. But legislators instead did not require that in the statute regarding mining and quarries. 

Harding said that apparently the legislators wanted to encourage industrial use of the land. 

McCullough asked Jake Wade, the landowner of the property, if he was in charge of what was going on. 

Wade said, “It’s going to go just the way I want it to go.”

Wade said he was offering a 200-foot setback, double the distance required by the regulations, because he did care about his neighbors.

After the motion to return the issue to the planning commission was made by Johnson, there was no second for a long period of time because as McCullough said he was still thinking on it.

Hightower finally seconded the motion, and the commission unanimously approved it.

The letter sent to the planning commission asks that it looks at setbacks and consider putting the 200-foot setbacks and vegetation plantings that Jake Wade offered. Johnson asked if that was all they could add or if they could add other conditions. 

Hightower asked if the commissioners could approve it with added conditions. 

Harding said, “No, I think you have to approve it as it is written or send it back and have them make changes and send it back.”

County Clerk David Lamb added, “Once you’ve sent it back once then the commission can make changes.” 

Harding agreed.  

The application for the CUP can be sent back to the planning commission one time. Then, if  it comes before the county commission it can be approved, declined or the commission can make changes and approve it. 

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