Environment & Science
1:25 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Next steps for proposed sand and gravel mine near Chelsea

A Ready Mix concrete company wants to dig for sand and gravel on a site north of Chelsea, Michigan. McCoig Materials is planning the mine right in the middle of the Pinckney and Waterloo State Recreation Areas (see the map above for the location of the proposed site).

The plan has drawn opposition from hundreds of residents and other advocates who fear the mine could affect water resources in the area. They also are concerned about the truck traffic that would roll through downtown Chelsea.

Lyndon Township officials will vote on whether the mine should move forward. A meeting has been scheduled next month. From the township:

May 19, 2014 – 6 p.m.: PUBLIC PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING ON THE McCOIG SPECIAL LAND USE REQUEST. This meeting is being held in Chelsea at the Washington Street Education Center.      

Written statements on the proposed mine are due to the township by noon on June 12. The township says there’s no scheduled vote date for their decision after that.  

But as the Environment Report’s Rebecca Williams reported last month, township officials have limited power in this situation under state law:

But there’s a Michigan law (Act 110 of 2006 (125.3205)) that limits their ability to say no…

Kevin McLaughlin is the chair of the Lyndon Township Planning Commission.

“We have to have extenuating circumstances to be able to vote no on the mining process,” he says.

But he says his team is weighing the decision carefully.

“We’ve compiled a very competent group of professionals: be it road engineers, structural engineers, hydrology experts and engineers, lawyers that have worked with such a project in the past,” he explains.

McCoig representatives declined interview requests from Michigan Radio and the Detroit News, but Ben Freed of the Ann Arbor News spoke with a company hired to represent McCoig:

ForEnergy LLC has been representing McCoig in the approval process and owner Tim Forell said at the previous public hearing that he and his team are taking the input from the public and planning commission seriously.

“When I see the passion (citizens are showing) we want to show empathy toward that and work with people. We respect their views,” he said.

“Believe it or not, we are going to do everything we can to work with them as best we can. Unfortunately there is no perfect site for a sand and gravel operation. It just doesn’t exist.”

Instead of mining the land, McCoig could opt to sell the land. Rebecca Williams reported that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Washtenaw County are both interested buyers.