Quarry applications withdrawn
Neighbor opposition cited as a reason

By Laurie Arendt - News Graphic Staff

Jan. 23, 2018

CEDARBURG — After more than five hours of public comment and debate that stretched between two separate meetings, and a tie vote resulting in no recommendation from the town of Cedarburg Plan Commission, expansion plans for Jackson’s Lannon Stone Quarry were ultimately scuttled on Friday.

Attorneys for the Dawson Family Trust officially notified the town of Cedarburg that all petitions and applications were being withdrawn.

“While there has been substantial support for the pending applications, there has also been even more opposition from citizen neighbors,” wrote Donald Levy from Levy and Levy, SC in a letter to the town of Cedarburg. “As you can tell from our presentation before the Cedarburg Plan Commission, we have listened to the concerns of citizens as presented at these meetings and have endeavored to take measures which would alleviate the majority of those concerns.

“We regret that these concessions were not sufficient to cause the Plan Commission to make a favorable recommendation,” he continued. “Thus, the Dawson Trust has elected to take matters off the table at the current time.”

The matter first came before the town of Cedarburg Board of Supervisors in December. The Dawson Family Trust was seeking to rezone parcels from agricultural and conservancy to a quarrying district and to request a change to the town’s existing berm requirements in addition to filing for a conditional use permit.

At that time, no discussion or action took place. The matter then returned before the board on Jan. 3. The board tabled the requests until the next scheduled meeting, which also allowed for a public hearing to be held before the plan commission.

“These requests allow us to intelligently plan and manage for the future,” Hans Dawson of Lannon Stone Products told the town board last Wednesday.

During the first public hearing, a number of residents objected to the expansion plans based on existing truck noise levels, including the “beep-beep-beep” sound required by federal law to identify that a truck is backing up.

“We don’t get a lot of calls at the quarry (about complaints), but we heard things we haven’t heard before at these meetings,” said Dawson on Wednesday. “We’ve taken steps to address the concerns that people have brought forth.”

He noted that the company purchased and had been testing a new type of back-up alarm and was now planning to install it on all of the company trucks. Additionally, the company realized that the process of building a berm has not decreased noise levels, but rather had the opposite effect, as the trucks used in its construction were generating more noise.

“Our staff has actually recommended that, if this project is approved, we construct it as one short project,” he said.

While some residents appeared to appreciate the steps the company was taking to address their concerns, still others continued to oppose the project.

“This is a real choice you guys are going to have,” said town of Cedarburg resident Dave Eitel. “Are you going to choose for the interest of the company or the interests of the town of Cedarburg?”

“This is about how close you would like a quarry to your home,” said town of Cedarburg resident Robert Montgomery. “This is something that has an emotional impact for those of us who live in this area.”

But still other residents advocated for its expansion.

“This is a tough decision to make; I’m seeing friends and neighbors here on both sides of the issue,” said town of Cedarburg resident Kevin Kennedy. “We’re talking 550 feet to expand the current mine. Stone is cheap; hauling it is expensive. I hope you can mitigate the neighbors’ concerns and make it work.”

With the withdrawal of the requests, the matter is no longer up for consideration by the Town Board. The letter sent to the town did note the following: “We will endeavor to make the quarry even more neighbor friendly so that sometime in the near future we will be in a position to obtain the necessary approvals to expand the the quarry into the town of Cedarburg with the blessings of our neighbors.”

<<EARLIER: Support for quarry expansion mixed