Supervisors hold second hearing on Pattison rezoning request

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By Pat McTaggart

Freelance Journalist

More than 30 people attended an Aug. 22 public hearing to discuss a request from the Pattison Sand Company to rezone about 754 acres of land around its mining operation from A1 (agricultural) to M2 (heavy industrial) to mine underground.  

At a public meeting on Aug. 15 the Clayton County Board of Supervisors tabled a motion to approve a conditional agreement between Pattison Sand and the adjacent land owners. The motion included some restrictions that were recommended by a study group that had been meeting for several months.

During the Aug. 22 hearing, several residents expressed some concerns about the rezoning. One of the issues discussed was the setback of ventilation shafts for the mine. Some individuals asked that the setback be ¼ mile from property lines. A restriction that was not included in the original motion placed the setback at 500 feet. 

“I hope that you will consider more conditions and restrictions for the rezoning,” Garnavillo resident Kay Vifian said. “The study group recommended a 500-foot setback from property lines. I’m asking you to increase that to ¼ mile and include it in the final motion.  I would also like to see more monitoring for tint dust particles and hear a clarification concerning new entrances and exits as needed for the safety of an efficient mining operation. What exactly does efficient mining operation mean?”

Another Garnavillo resident, Bob Knutson, was concerned about some of the restrictions that the supervisors had not put into the motion because they considered duplications of current state regulations. “I think those restrictions should be included because the county needs them for oversight,” he said.  “The state is understaffed.”

Pattison Sand Company Director of Health and Public Safety Tim Adkins responded. “We have presented factual scientific data versus emotional responses,” he said.  “Please deal with the facts, not the emotion of those that are against this measure.”

At the end of the discussion, the supervisors voted to include the 500-foot restriction in the agreement with adjacent landowners unless the landowner agrees to a lesser length.

After landowners signed the agreement, the supervisors approved the first reading of changing the rezoning from A1 to M2.  Included in the rezoning motion were the previously agreed upon amendments and another amendment  requiring Pattison Sand Company to file existing emergency plans on an annual basis with the Clayton County Emergency Management Agency. A vote on the second reading of the measure will take place on Aug. 29 at 11 a.m. at the next regular supervisor meeting.

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