Clark County: Another permit needed to approve proposed gravel pit

10:00 a.m. Saturday, May 13, 2017 Politics

A proposed Clark County gravel pit will need more than the state’s approval to begin operations, a county official said.

Enon Sand and Gravel applied in November 2016 to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Mineral Resources Management to merge two existing permits. It also applied to mine limestone as well.

Mad River Twp. residents, businesses, groups and a school district have voiced opposition to the pit for months.

RELATED : Mad River Twp. mining proposal concerns residents

Representatives of Jurgensen Aggregates, the parent company of Enon Sand and Gravel, attended a community meeting at Greenon High School in March. Nearly 200 people packed the school’s cafeteria, voicing concerns about noise and their water, property values and health.

The proposed 400-acre gravel pit would be near approximately 200 homes, a few businesses and Greenon High School.

The company’s president, Dennis Garrison, stated then he understood the residents’ concerns and insisted that his company wants to be as transparent as possible through this process. He didn’t return calls for comment for this story.

In less than two weeks, ODNR will close the comment period for the public.

It was extended from April 21 to Monday, May 22, after the Mad River Twp. asked for an extension.

RELATED : Opposition grows against mining permit in Mad River Twp.

That is when Clark County Community and Economic Development Department will step in.

The county agency said the company has to apply to them as well.

They have yet to do so.

“They believe they are grandfathered in,” Allan Neimayer, the senior planner with the Clark County Community and Economic Development Department, said.

Major changes would likely need to be made, Neimayer said, and that needs county approval.

Neimayer says ODNR may be on a timetable, but the county is not. He says it will take its time.

Residents like Kyle Peterson and others will use the extension to gather information to provide to ODNR to try to get the department to deny the permit.

“There were enough details left out of the original permit that has given cause of alarm,” Peterson said.

Peterson is an officer with Citizens Against Mining, a nonprofit group of residents fighting the pit.

The group has a hired a lawyer and professionals in the water, nature, landscape, wildlife and history fields to find facts to use against the pit and the company.

So far, the group said it has found endangered species and historical artifacts to use in their argument against the pit.

ODNR has 30 days from May 22 to make a decision to approve or deny the permit.