Signs like this one along Highway 11 near Highway 120 in Spring Prairie have popped up in the township since a gravel pit was proposed last summer. The issue will likely be decided during a town meeting on Thursday. (Photo by Tracy Ouellette)

Controversial issue comes to a head in Spring Prairie

By Jason Arndt

Editor

The Town of Spring Prairie Planning and Zoning Commission is poised to weigh in on a proposed and highly controversial gravel pit at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The meeting will be held at the Town Hall, N6097 Highway 120.

The proposal, however, has been changed since Union Grove-based Asphalt Contractors, Inc., first presented it last June.

The new proposal, according to the agenda, calls for a rezoning of three parcels from A-1 Agriculture to M-3 Mineral Extraction District to accommodate development of a gravel pit as well as conditional use permits for each.

Proposed mining, processing and trucking operation hours would be 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6 a.m. until noon on Saturdays, the conditional use permit states.

Additionally, the item includes a certified survey map review for consolidation of three parcels into one parcel, the agenda states.

Robert Kordus, President of Asphalt Contractors, Inc., initially proposed the rezone of four parcels belonging to two owners and conditional use permits on each parcel.

The four parcels are at W2064 Highway 11 and W1966 Spring Prairie Road and accessed off of Highway 120. The site is roughly bordered by Highway 120 on the west, Highway 11 and Spring Prairie Road on the south; Hargraves Road on the east and Potter Road on the north.

Since then, the westernmost parcel has been eliminated, according to the agenda.

A chairman’s plea

Town Chairman Thomas C. Bolfert, meanwhile, has asked residents to keep their emotions in check as the Planning and Zoning Commission deliberates.

Bolfert further stated the meeting will have strict rules.

The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m., rather than 7 p.m., and begin with an Asphalt Contractors, Inc. presentation followed by an open hearing for residents to ask questions and express concerns.

“Because we anticipate a large resident turnout, certain rules will be strictly enforced during the open hearing,” Bolfert wrote is a message distributed with the meeting agenda. “Any resident wishing to speak will be allowed to do so one time only and for a maximum of two minutes, so I strongly suggest they organize their thoughts in advance and be as concise and factual as possible.”

Residents looking to offer their thoughts will be required to state their names as well as place of residence and speak into a handheld microphone.

After the open hearing, the Planning and Zoning Commission members will then ask questions, at which time, residents will not be allowed to speak.

“While this has been a somewhat emotional and contentious issue with some residents, I sincerely ask all concerned parties to keep their emotions in check and be rational, courteous and respectful,” Bolfert wrote.

    To read a complete version of this story, including comments from a resident who opposes the plan and from the owner of Asphalt Contractors Inc., see Thursday’s edition of the Burlington Standard Press.

If you go…

What: Town of Spring Prairie Planning and Zoning Commission meeting

When: Thursday, Jan. 16, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Spring Prairie Town Hall, N6097 Highway 120

Lowdown: The commission will consider a request from Asphalt Contractors Inc. to rezone multiple parcels and approve a conditional use permit to allow operation of a gravel pit at the site.