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Municipalities respond to end of frac sand mine moratorium
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When the Crawford County frac sand mining moratorium ended on Oct. 17, cities, villages, and townships were left to regulate the new industry within their own borders. The county was unable to do so, because of the lack of countywide zoning. However, the county, through its mining study committee, did produce a sample ordinance for the municipalities to use as a model.

The majority of licensing ordinancecal municipalities have imposed their own moratoriums, while they learn more about what they can and cannot do with their ordinances. The moratoriums also give them time to find out how their residents want to proceed.

The exceptions to the rule are Bridgeport and Utica Townships, which both have enacted ordinances.

Bridgesport’s board deemed its township zoning as adequate and passed a reclamation ordinance, which township clerk Linda Smrcina described as nearly identical to that currently in place with the county.

Utica Township adopted the model ordinance supplied by the county with plans to continue to discuss the issue and make changes if needed.

The clerks reported that they have received little contact from residents on the issue. What contact was made was largely opposed to the industry coming to their neighborhood.

“We’ve had a licensing ordinancet of ‘I don’t want this’ from people attending the board meetings,” said Tanya Peterson, clerk for Utica Township. “There has not been one person who was for it.”

Only one clerk reported receiving feedback in support of sand mining in their municipality.

“We’ve only had one letter so far,” said Julie Payne, the township clerk for Seneca. “It was from a landowner, who doesn’t live here, but was pro-mining.”

Some are still discussing the issue, such as Haney Township.

“We aren’t real vulnerable since we have zoning in place,” said Elling Jones, Chairperson of the Haney Township Board.

“The board is waiting for a recommendation from the planning commission,” Jones explained. “We have a few people who are really concerned, but most people aren’t saying much. I suppose they assume we are protected since we have zoning.”

So what are they doing?

Clayton Township: six-month moratorium with a committee appointed to work on a licensing ordinance

Eastman Township: moratorium, probable licensing ordinance, sharing costs with Village and Township of Wauzeka

Freeman Township: six-month moratorium, looking at licensing ordinance and/or use of zoning

Haney Township: Planning Commission will make recommendation

Marietta Township: adopted village powers, passed a six-month moratorium, formed a study committee

Prairie du Chien Township: no action, discussion planned at Nov. 8 meeting

Scott Township: nine-month moratorium, study committee to be appointed

Seneca Township: six-month moratorium, planning committee looking at licensing ordinance

Utica Township: adopted, reviewing ordinance

Wauzeka Township: three-month moratorium

Village of Bell Center: looking into moratorium and licensing ordinance

Village of DeSoto: adopted operators licensing ordinance

Village of Eastman: working with township to develop licensing ordinance

Village of Ferryville: proposed licensing ordinance in legal review

Village of Gays Mills: six-month moratorium

Village of Lynxville: attended meeting in Seneca, no action as yet

Village of Mt. Sterling: not yet discussed

Village of Soldiers Grove: approved a six-month moratorium, which must still be drawn up and approved

Village of Steuben: no action, lack of place within village limits for a mine

Village of Wauzeka: planned vote for Nov. 5 on licensing ordinance