Meeting runs for over five hours
By Holly Neumann
Approximately 45 people took part in the Waupaca County Planning and Zoning Committee hearing on Faulks Bros.’ request for a conditional use permit (CUP) for a sand and gravel mine on the Iola Car Show grounds in the town of Scandinavia.
The committee made no decision after a 5 1/2 hour meeting. That decision is not expected until after its Aug. 8 meeting.
The Planning and Zoning Committee listened to testimony from both the applicant and audience.
Joe Opperman and Ali Johnson, from the Iola Car Show, and Wendy McIntee, Randy Faulks and John Faulks, from Faulks Bros., spoke in favor of the mine.
Eight community members spoke against it. The Planning and Zoning Committee also read two letters and 35 emails in opposition to the sand mine.
“This permit should be approved because it is a legal, permissible and standard operation,” said Joe Opperman, executive director for the Iola Car Show. “We should be treated like any other landowner.”
Opperman acknowledged that the CUP does not fit into the town of Scandinavia’s Comprehensive Plan all that well.
“It really shouldn’t be expected to fit that plan,” he said. “When the plan was written, nobody knew about this resource.”
He also referenced Act 67, which was passed in 2017.
“The county is now asked to review this and must apply Act 67, which is in place to limit the authority of local governments, to regulate development,” said Opperman.
“It requires that substantial evidence, meaning facts and information, not personal preference or speculation, are required to deny a permit, that otherwise follows the ordinances. This plan does follow the ordinances and in fact in many cases exceeds them. Certainly it should be understood that the strength of the law, out-weighs the strength of the plan.”
He noted that the proposal comes from an outstanding operator with decades of experience in the field.
“This operation is important to adding stability to our organization,” Opperman said. “Which is important to countless other organizations and people.”
Connie Freeman and Helene Pohl, who were both part of the committee that formed the Comprehensive Plan, spoke for the opposition.
“We spent a lot of time on the comprehensive plan, we meant it to last until the next one comes up in 2030,” said Freeman. “Granted it is not set in law, but it is a vision of what we wanted our community to look like. I think we made a good decision and I hope we can up-hold what we wanted.”
“I was also chair for a small organization called Working Together for Waupaca County,” added Pohl. “I had the chance to present to many of you a sustainability resolution in 2013. It was unanimously voted upon. It was a non-binding resolution, however, it does state that our county would work to reduce and eventually eliminate our contribution to the ongoing physical degradation of our earth.”
No decision will be made on the CUP until after the committee’s regular meeting on Aug. 8, so that committee members have time to review all the information.
Only information from the July 12 meeting will be taken into consideration in making a final decision. Any correspondence received after the meeting will not be considered.