Testimony ends on Union sand mine appeal
The appeal hearing on AF Gelhar Co.’s proposed sand mine in Union ended after less than four hours of testimony Thursday, May 15.
The Waupaca County Board of Adjustments went into closed session shortly after 2 p.m. to deliberate.
No decision is expected Thursday and the board may not announce its decision until Monday, May 19, according to Ryan Brown, the county’s planning and zoning director.
Opponents of the sand mine want to overturn a June 6, 2013, Zoning Committee decision to grant a conditional use permit to the mine.
The Board of Adjustments has quasi-judicial authority to review the Zoning Committee’s decision.
At issue is whether the Zoning Committee made any substantive errors when it granted the permit.
Permit application errors alleged
Brian Hamill, who represents the sand mine opponents, said AF Gelhar’s original April 2012 application had two errors.
Hamill said the permit application listed AF Gerlhar as the owner of the property where the sand mine would be located.
The two parcels, located on the north side of Dennison Road, are owned by Roger and Geraldine Henschel and Gerald and Susan Tellock.
Steve Sorenson, who represents the mining company, said AF Gelhar had purchase agreements with the current owners. He said all public notices regarding the permit listed the current owners.
Sorenson called Roger Henschel to testify. Henschel said he was aware of AF Gelhar’s plans and was under contract to sell the land.
Henschel said it was public knowledge that he owned the land.
He also Union’s town chairman. Henschel testified that he had recused himself from participating in discussion on the Union Town Board and the Union Plan Commission regarding the sand mine.
Missing site plans
Hamill said the original application was also incomplete because it failed to include detailed site information.
“You must be able to make an informed decision based on that application,” Hamill said. “There are no building sizes, no setbacks, no dimensions.”
Reading from a transcript of the June 2013 public hearing, Sorenson said Brown told the Zoning Committee that the original application was complete.
“At every step of the way, we met with Ryan and his staff,” Sorenson said.
He then handed out copies of what he said was Gelhar’s original application and held up a color-rendering of the site plan.
“I have a copy of the original application,” Hamill said. “That map’s not there.”
Last year, Brown told the County Post that conditional use permit applications for nonmetallic mining operations typically rely on the draft reclamation plan to provide more details about the operation. The site plan was included in the reclamation plan, he said.
Visit the Waupaca County Post Friday to read some of the testimony presented at the hearing.