The Sun Prairie City Council rejected a Windsor quarry recommendation from the Sun Prairie Plan Commission, electing instead to approve a more neutral resolution recommended by city planning staff, during its Sept. 15 meeting.
Last week, the plan commission voted 5-1, with Mayor Paul Esser voting no, to recommend the Windsor Village Board deny a permit for a new quarry on the west side of Highway C in the Village of Windsor, approximately 2.5 miles north of Highway 19.
When she read the report to the council from the commission, District 3 Alder Maureen Crombie said instead of making a recommendation to approve the commission’s request, she said she felt the council should talk about the issue more.
But Esser said he preferred the city take a more neutral position. “I think our speaking on this only confuses the issue,” the mayor said. He said the resolution recommended by city staff takes a more neutral position, requesting specific actions be taken by the village board if the permit is approved.
“I’m not neutral, Paul, sorry — I’m opposed to this,” District 4 Alder Al Guyant said. The alder even went so far as to offer the city’s assistance with any legal bills if the village wanted to fight the quarry in court. Guyant contended the 32 trucks that will go through Sun Prairie will not be used to supply aggregate to Sun Prairie, but instead to the Interstate construction project.
“Sorry Paul I can’t agree with you on this,” remarked Steve Stocker, the District 1 Alder who made the successful motion to recommend denial at the plan commission meeting last week.
Stocker argued the quarry will affect air quality, and that folks will be exposed to dust that wouldn’t be there without the quarry. The alder also said he has a concern that the Token Creek Watershed will be affected.
And there’s one more impact, Stocker said. “I used to live somewhat near the site of a quarry when I lived outside the city,” Stocker said. “Every time there was blasting, it shook the house, and I lived a mile away.”
The District 1 alder also pointed out that large number of trucks will impact the roads, including a recently reconstructed Highway C. “It’s not going to be this company paying for our roads,” Stocker said, “it’s our citizens.”
Stocker moved to recommend the Windsor Village Board deny the quarry.
One individual submitting a public comment in writing before the Sept. 15 meeting agreed with Stocker and Guyant.
Windsor resident David Roscoe said he opposed the quarry, and listed seven reasons ranging from zoning to water and air quality. “This is an agricultural and residential community,” Roscoe wrote, “please don’t change this beautiful village with heavy industry.”
One Sun Prairie resident urged District 4 Alder and Council President Mary Polenske to vote in favor of the quarry.
“While living in Sun Prairie for the past 10 years I have had the privilege to witness and be a part of the amazing growth of my community and I believe this quarry will continue to help project my city of Sun Prairie in to a sustainable future,” Natalie Van Daele, a Broadway Drive resident, wrote.
Dustin Gradel from Tri-County Paving, the company seeking to mine the quarry on the Hoffman farm, said DeForest is already being served by a Town of Vienna quarry, and that any materials needed in Sun Prairie would likely be trucked on the same roads from there. “You guys need the material in your area . . . whether this quarry opens or not,” Gradel said.
The Tri-County representative said blasting has changed in the 20 years since Stocker experienced it. He said because of computers, the blasting is not felt as close as 1,000 feet away, and when the blast happens, the aggregate showers to the floor of the quarry like water so it can be gathered and piled.
Windsor’s ordinance restricts the air quality to a level more stringent than Dane County, according to Gradel. The company must install air quality monitors so sensitive that if the monitors go off, all activity must cease until they begin again.
Failure to follow the monitors could result in the quarry permit — which must be renewed annually — being pulled along with a substantial deposit on file with Dane County.
Gradel said the company met with the neighbors and agreed to notify the neighbors by text message of any blasting or heavy truck traffic. And last week, Gradel had agreed to include a requirement for tarps to cover all trucks hauling material from the quarry site through Sun Prairie.
Stocker’s motion to urge the Windsor Village Board deny the quarry permit failed on a 6-2 vote, with only Stocker and Guyant supporting the motion to deny.
District 2 Alder Theresa Stevens, however, said she could support the resolution in the commission packet, which takes a more neutral stance on the quarry.
The resolution in the packet points out that because the City of Sun Prairie is not an approving authority that city planning staff was hesitant to make a recommendation for approval or denial of the application.
“Although it appears that the long term concerns over the quarry’s operational lifetime may outweigh the potential benefits of having aggregate located in close proximity to the city, it is also somewhat inconsistent for the city to take a pro-growth approach to its future without supporting facilities like this nearby that provide the resources that help make such growth possible,” the staff recommendation states. “Should the Village approve the re-zoning and license, staff recommends that the imposition of the conditions noted below be included in any approval. Further, staff asks that prior to making a final decision, the Village inform the City Administrator of any conditions it plans to include as part of said approvals:
1. Identification of one or more acceptable truck routes within the Village between the proposed quarry and Highway 51 and development areas near Windsor and DeForest.
2. Tarping requirements of the Windsor ordinance be upheld.
3. Notification of the city and residents of the Westwynde, Shonas Highlands, and Reserve neighborhoods be required 24-hours in advance of any blasting.
4. Analysis of environmental impacts on Token Creek to the level that the Village is satisfied that long term water quality will not be impacted.”
Alders put the staff recommendation into a resolution format and approved it on a 7-1 vote, with Stocker voting against.