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Town board opposes sand mine

Waupaca County should deny permit

Everyone in Waupaca County should be paying attention to what is happening in the town of Scandinavia.

In case you weren’t following, the town board unanimously voted on May 10 to deny a sand mine permit application to Faulks Bros. and the Iola Car Show. A week earlier, the Township’s Planning & Zoning Committee had also unanimously voted against the permit.

Faulks Bros. had requested to mine 23.7 acres on the Iola Car Show land in a spot that Town Chair Gary Marx said was “shoehorned” in an area completely surrounded by seven homes. The board wrote a 61-page report that showed the many ways the permit was not in compliance with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. It was not an easy decision and it was made after 14 hours of public meetings over a five-month period.

But the final verdict for the permit rests with the Waupaca County Planning and Zoning Committee. They held a 5 1/2 hour public meeting on July 12 where 45 testimonials were read into the record against the mine, compared to five in favor of the mine. The board didn’t ask a single question of Faulks Bros. or Marx, which seemed odd knowing the importance of this decision.

Unbeknownst to the public, a staffers recommendation report from Director Ryan Brown and Zoning Administrator Jason Snyder was sent to the full board six days BEFORE the public meeting recommending approval of the sand mine permit. The two staffers said that with conditional use changes, they could make the permit in compliance with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. They wrote: “It is in our opinion that through the use of recommended conditions that the factors associated with inconsistency will be mitigated to be consistent.”

Say what?

Now just to be truthful, the full County Board has not met yet and no decision on this sand mine permit has been made. This is just a staffers recommendation and the full board won’t meet until early August to decide what to do with the permit. But it would be unprecedented for the County Board to force the towns to take this sand mine after the Township voted to deny the permit. If they approved it, they would make the Township’s Comprehensive Plan worthless and every other municipality’s Comprehensive Plan in the state worthless.

And it wouldn’t be unprecedented for the County to go along with the Township and deny the permit. In April of 2022, Marquette County denied a sand mine permit and in December of 2022 Green Lake County denied a sand mine permit. Both were denied after Act 67 was passed in 2017.

We are asking Waupaca County to to do the right thing and honor what the town of Scandinavia has already decided: deny this permit.

Greg Ambrosius
Town of Scandinavia

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