Commissioners: ‘Devastation’ too much to support stone quarry

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – At the June 16 Tippecanoe County Commissioners meeting the first reading of a stone quarry ordinance was not a line item on the agenda. No one from Rogers Group, which is wanting to build a quarry in Americus was at the first reading of the ordinance. The quarry would be banned under the ordinance. Company officials said they didn’t even know the ordinance was being proposed.

On Monday it was standing room only and Rogers Group attorneys and leaders of the company were there to hear the final reading of the ordinance.

The ordinance says stone quarries would be banned within a two miles radius of 100 or more homes, something Rogers Group representatives said will prohibit quarrying in most of the county.

“The problem is mining isn’t done on a theoretical point and a theoretical location,” Attorney Christopher Shelmon said. “Mining has to be done where the stone is located.”

The land owner of the proposed quarry site off Old State Road 25 also spoke against the ordinance.

However, most of the nearly two hours of arguments were occupied by those in favor of the ordinance. Nearly a dozen topics were addressed from property value loss to radon exposure to Rogers Group’s history of safety violations.

“The homes would be subjected to noise, traffic, fugitive dust emissions, blasting, possible loss of water and a reduction of property value,” Kay Miller, who opposes the quarry and is for the ordinance, said.

In the end, the commissioners were on the side of the majority. They voted to pass the ordinance in its final reading. Commissioner John Knochel lives in the area and said the devastation is too much to gain his support for the quarry.

“In devastation I was talking about property values, water tables going down, wells possibly drying up,” Knochel said.

Commissioner Tom Murtaugh said the Board of Zoning Appeals will hear the Rogers Group’s application for a stone quarry at its August 27 meeting. It can be approved, but now there is an ordinance that would outlaw it. Murtaugh said at that point, if Rogers Group chooses, a lawsuit could be filed against the commissioners.

Rogers Group representatives left immediately after the vote. A call to attorney Andy Gutwein to ask what the company plans to do next has not been returned.

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