Proposed sand mine irritates residents
A plan for a sand mine in Anthony found little footing with the Marion County Planning & Zoning Commission on Monday.
The commission voted 4-0 to deny the request for a special-use permit. The vote serves as a recommendation to the Marion County Commission, which may take up the request as early as Aug. 17. The commission is not bound by the P&Z vote.
Dozens opposed to the mine attended the meeting, arguing it would detract from the agricultural nature of the area.
The proposed mine would cover a 70-acre area, but mining would only occur on sections about 10 acres in size at any one time. Once the sand is mined, they would fill it in with other soil to the same grade, according to the proposal filed with the county.
The property, located off the 4100 block of Northeast 97th Street Road, is owned by Scott and Sharon Seiler and has been traditionally agricultural. However, just under the surface is a large deposit of primarily Arredondo sand. The sand is sought after because it drains well and has a slow runoff rate, perfect for construction.
The county staff also recommended denial due to the area being in a sensitive springs recharge. The plan would require detailed reclamation plans beyond what was included in the request.
Overall, the staff also felt the mine was not suited to the location.
Jimmy Gooding, who was representing the applicant, Anthony Materials Inc., said they were willing to address the reclamation issues and were not planning on digging deep enough to expose the aquifer.
While the sand deposits in the area run some 70-feet below the surface, the mining would stop well short of the bottom and would not penetrate the clay layer that keeps groundwater from directly entering the aquifer.
“This is a sand mine. It is the least intrusive, least impactful type of mine,” Gooding said.
But that wasn’t good enough for some residents.
“I worked for a company in Marion County that had a sand mine. They declared bankruptcy. Walked away, and that 90-acre sand mine is a hole,” said Thomas Brantley.
Catherine Parker, who lives across from the proposed mining area, said she worries about the noise spooking her horses.
Others worried about the proposed 50 dump-truck trips per day, six days per week, and how it would affect the roads and safety.
Christopher Bennett of Anthony Materials said while the proposal asks for permission to run six days every week, the mine will only operate from Monday to Friday.
Gooding said that while it’s true that some mining companies do go out of business, others do the right thing.
“If we do not do the right thing, the county can revoke the permit and stop the mining,” he said.