EUREKA TOWNSHIP — After many meetings and long hours of discussion through the past several months, the Eureka Township Board approved a mining ordinance.
The new ordinance was approved Monday, leaving some board members unhappy.
“I cannot support this ordinance,” said Trustee Brad Kelly, noting the effect the ordinance will have on local workers. “These are smaller operations and it will kill them.”
According to township documents, the intent and purpose of the ordinance is to regulate, inspect and monitor mining operations within the township.
“… In order to minimize the existence of dangerously steep slopes, shifting earth, impairments or pollution of ground water, water table, surface water and the watershed and to protect the air, water and natural resources and the public trust therein, and the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of Eureka Charter Township,” the ordinance states. “To meet these objectives, such mineral mining operations shall be licensed by the township and the fees required for licensure shall be utilized to offset the costs and expense of monitoring, inspection and administration under this ordinance.”
Kelly said it’s what is in the ordinance that he fears will shut down local businesses, saying it will cost businesses a lot of money to adhere to the regulations inside the ordinance.
“It would be a financial burden for high-grade materials — the prices (of materials) would go up,” said Kelly, pointing out the fencing alone could cost a company a couple hundred thousand dollars.
The ordinances states there should be fencing around a worksite that is at least 4 feet tall and include No. 12 gauge top and bottom wire with spacing of 6 to 12 inches. The stage is to be 14 gauge wire with spacing of support post with a maximum of 16 feet apart.
The business will also have to place signs indicating the danger of trespassing onto the property, which has to be spread at the maximum of 100 feet apart.
The ordinances also refers to hours of operation, road access and maintenance, the operation of the work area, transportation vehicle standards, lighting, processing, drainage, slopes and more.
Kelly suggested the board to take into account what is in the ordinance and at least think about grandfathering existing pits.
Trustee Marty Posekany said the ordinance does address existing pits, which may be grandfathered in. Kelly pointed it out the “may” and noted that because the word “may” is used, it does not guarantee previous pits to be grandfathered. Posekany said the committee was setup not to run anyone out of business, but to do the best for everyone.
“We wanted to protect the miners because we need these people,” Posekany said. “We want to protect the residents (of the township) because we need these people.”
Interim Supervisor Rodney Roy agreed with Posekany about not wanting to ruin anyone’s business and said he hopes things will work in the future.
“We aren’t here to put anyone out out of business,” Roy said of the miners. “We are here to work with you.”
The motion carried with a 5-2 vote with Kelly and Trustee Jeremy Austin voting against the ordinance.
In other business, the township board approved:
• The insurance renewal policy.
• The renewal of the sheriff’s contract.
• A new township hall rental policy.
• The general appropriations act for 2013.
• To enter into closed session to discuss matters subject to attorney-client privileges.