Milan presses to stop mine

Milan presses to stop mine

MILAN – The state Department of Environmental Conservation has scheduled a May 10 meeting and which the public can comment on the draft environmental impact statement filed by Red Wing Sand and Gravel for its proposed mine on Turkey Hill Road.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Wilcox Memorial Town Hall at 20 Wilcox Circle, off state Route 199.

Milan officials, who are moving forward with proposed zoning laws that would prohibit new mines, plan to provide the state with information showing why mining is not compatible with growth in the town.

“The written comment will probably be drawn from our comprehensive plan,” said Councilman Ross Williams.

Red Wing Sand and Gravel submitted an application in 2002 to use 69 acres of a 192.24-acre site on Turkey Hill Road under a “floating” provision in the town law. The company then requested a zoning change for the parcel, but that was rejected in 2003.

Later that year, an election sweep by Milan Democrats resulted in an updated town comprehensive plan and zoning laws that did not have mining in any districts.

In the draft environmental impact statement, company officials say: “The town recently eliminated the “Floating Bone L.I. District” in what Red Wing views as an illegal action. On May 26, 2006, Red Wing commenced a combined Article 78 Proceeding/Declaratory Judgment action in state Supreme Court challenging the town’s action.”

In February, state Supreme Court Justice James Brands wrote that the town’s handling of the proposal appeared to be central in the decision to overturn town zoning laws adopted in January 2006.

“While any one of the procedural defects standing alone could possibly be construed as a mere irregularity and inconsequential, this court cannot ignore the cumulative nature of the several procedural errors nor assign relative importance to each one as that is a legislative responsibility,” he said.

Town Board members now are trying a second time to adopt the comprehensive plan and have scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. April 28 in the Town Hall.

©Daily Freeman 2007

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