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King Road Mine - Levy County Special Exception

Posted by Larry Feldhusen 
King Road Mine - Levy County Special Exception
April 07, 2011 12:15PM
From the Chronicle: http://www.chronicleonline.com/content/levy-citrus-countians-oppose-mine-project

Levy, Citrus countians oppose mine project
Planning commission OKs recommendation; next meeting May 3
By Lou Elliott Jones
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 12:00 am (Updated: April 6, 12:03 am)


BRONSON — The proposed Tarmac King Road mine project won a recommendation for approval from the Levy County Planning Commission by a 4-1 vote in the wee hours Tuesday and will face a public hearing before the Levy County Commission at 6:30 p.m. May 3.

Crystal River Mayor Jim Farley attended the Levy County Planning Commission meeting, which was discussing the Tarmac King Road mining operation.
The Planning Commission vote at 1:22 a.m. — 7 hours after the meeting started — came after an overflowing crowd of 180 persons had dwindled to about 75 people. Most of the Levy County residents who attended and spoke at the meeting were from the Yankeetown/Inglis area. Most were adamantly opposed to the mine.

Some also came from Citrus County, including Crystal River Mayor Jim Farley. He said the 250 trucks the mining project will send through the middle of his city on U.S. 19 will impact its daily life, efforts to unite the two sides of the bisected area and possibly hurt tourism.

He said the trucks loaded with tons of lime rock will be a danger to people trying to cross the road.

“Will they decide to go elsewhere because it’s just too bloody noisy and scary here?” he asked.

The planning board did not discuss the application before it voted and had few questions. And this is not the first time the project has come before the board in the seven years since the first application was filed.

Ron Grant of Williston, the lone vote against recommending approval, said he has questions about the mining project that have not been answered. He also said the application for the special exception zoning permit was not complete.

“I was wondering why we were hearing it,” Grant said. “I didn’t feel right about it. There are a lot of issues unanswered and the water issue is one.”
The mine’s owner, Titan America, is waiting on a federal Clean Water Act permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps has had the application for at least two years.

Yankeetown City Attorney Ralph Brooks, reading from the board’s criteria reminded they “shall not recommend unless it meets all applicable criteria.”
Brooks said, “This mine is so big it triggers federal review.”

Grant said he was concerned about the company’s plans to drain wetlands, something voiced by many of the mine’s opponents. They also expressed concern about the water use dropping well and aquifer levels as the mine uses 13 million gallons of water per day returning 13 million to the ponds with 120,000 gallons leaving the site in trucks.

The planning commissioner also said he is concerned about a bridge on County Road 336, one of the routes to be used by the loaded trucks.
“I am concerned about the liability of the county if that bridge falls down and kills somebody,” Grant said.

During the hearing, Development Director Rob Corbitt said the county’s concern about the bridge’s ability to withstand the weight of the trucks was alleviated after Tarmac paid for stress tests, showing it could handle the traffic. The Florida Department of Transportation concurred after reviewing the data.

Tarmac’s traffic analyst, Steve Harvey of Lincks & Associates Inc., said the 500 truck trips would be split with 32 percent heading north on U.S. Highway 19 in Levy County, 52 percent south on U.S. 19 through Citrus County, and 16 percent going east via U.S. 19, then County Road 121, and CR 336 to pick up State Road 40 in Marion County.

Answering Citrus County officials’ concern about the increase in traffic, Henry said, “There are no roadways where the loads would consume 5 percent of the traffic.”

He said U.S. 19’s level of service for 2014, the year the mine would open, can handle 2,390 vehicles per hour at peak times, Adding in the truck traffic, the number of vehicles is estimated to be 1,337 in the morning and 1,497 in the evening.

Tarmac is proposing to mine hard limerock on 2,757 acres out of 4,750 acres it leases from Plum Creek timber company. The property is west of U.S. 19 about halfway between Inglis and Lebanon Station.

In addition, Tarmac has said it will restore an additional 4,526 acres of land, most of which would be wetlands, to its original state. The lands are being used for pine tree farming. The “mitigation parcel” is on a priority list for the Florida Forever program and would be turned over to the state.

If approved, the mine would operate for 100 years, mining about 25 acres per year to depths of 120 feet. Any rock deemed of lesser quality will be used to backfill most pits, while 20 other dredged pits will be left behind as lakes.

Lou Elliott Jones is the editor of the Chiefland Citizen.
Re: King Road Mine - Levy County Special Exception
April 08, 2011 10:35AM
Ironic...
That's the word for an omission of over 90 people speaking out AGAINST something (many pointing out that the Planning Commission was violating their OWN RULES if they approved recommending to the BOCC move forward on this "Special Exception",

and a whopping 8 speaking out FOR it,
5 of which are current TarMac Employees, 1 was a TarMac Retiree, a Business Owner in Chiefland and a Town Employee for Inglis, who'll be surely selling her dirt to them, just Like a State Senator who owns adjacent lands too......

Boy this smells,
like the shoreline in St. Pete at low tide (where lots of raw sewage still gets directed straight in to the Gulf.

Funny thing about some of these local 'news' papers is learning to 'read between the lines'
and figure out what Wasn't Fit to Print?
May 3rd people. If You didn't come before, now You Know it's getting serious.
Re: King Road Mine - Levy County Special Exception
April 26, 2011 04:50PM
Those who were present at the Levy PC Hearing are aware of what an amazing event it was to watch.

As mentioned in the above article it was well attended. The overwhelming majority of attendees provided input as to why the Special Exception SHOULD NOT be approved, some of it quite irrefutable. Nonetheless, without any serious discussion of the points raised, the PC voted overwhelmingly to recommend approval. It was as if they might not have even been present during the hours of input that had preceded their deliberation and vote.

What is most amazing is how much time and money is being spent blowing smoke up our kilts; the open hearing, the hours of input, followed by a discussion and vote that seems to have ignored very clear and simple provisions of the law. The Levy County Comprehensive Plan and the Land Development Code are quite clear about some provisions for consideration of Special Exception requests. The Comp Plan and LDC seem to clearly prohibit approval or recommendation for approval, at least at this time. Consider the following from the Comprehensive Plan:

Levy County Comprehensive Plan
Conservation Element


Policy 3.8 - Environmentally Sensitive Lands including, but not limited to, coastal resources and designated areas of critical state concern, will be protected from mining operations. {emphasis mine}

In consideration of the above Policy 3.8 please tell me what I’m missing:
Fact: The King Road Mine is proposed in Environmentally Sensitive Lands.
Fact: It is a mining operation.
Question: How can the County approve the Special Exception when doing so is clearly (at least to a simple-minded fellow, like myself) in violation of the County’s own law? Can anyone explain this? Maybe our County Commissioners would do so since they are scheduled to consider the Special Exception at the upcoming Hearing on May 3rd.

In addition to the Comprehensive Plan, the Levy County Land Development Code also deals very clearly with Special Exception approvals in certain circumstances.

Please take a look at the following excerpt from the LDC:

Levy LDC Section 50.719

Sec. 50-719. Mining and excavation of minerals, resources, or natural resources, and site reclamation.
I. Special exception approval and excavation and fill permits required; vesting; exceptions.
(c) Minimum criteria, standards and conditions. When reviewing an application for special exception for a major mining operation, the planning commission shall not recommend approval of such application unless the application meets all of the applicable criteria, standards, conditions and requirements contained in all applicable sections in division 5, article XIII, of this chapter 50, and in this section. The board of county commissioners may grant a special exception application for a major mining operation, provided that such application complies with all applicable provisions and requirements of division 5, article XIII, of this chapter 50, and all applicable provisions of this section. A finding by the board of county commissioners that any of the criteria, standards, conditions or requirements in this section have not been adequately addressed to protect area residents, businesses and the health, safety and welfare of the community as a whole shall result in the denial of an application for a special exception for a major mining operation. In addition to any criteria, standards, conditions, and requirements contained in elsewhere in this division 5 of article XIII of this chapter 50, an application for a special exception for a major mining operation shall meet the following criteria, standards, conditions, and requirements:
(10) The proposed mining operation has obtained all other federal, state or local permits. {emphasis mine}

After reading the above, please remember that the Army Corps of Engineers has not yet issued an approval. They still have considerable work to complete. Numerous parties brought this to the attention of the Planning Commission at their Hearing, including attorney Ralf Brookes on behalf of the Town of Yankeetown.

To this layman’s understanding, words like “shall” and “will” carry special weight and meaning in the law. Supposedly it’s such refinements that help to make us a nation of laws and protects the citizenry from the whimsical wishes of the likes of kings, dictators and, in our case, elected or appointed officials. Apparently I’m missing something because there was no explanation as to what grounds the Planning Commission relied upon in recommending approval to the Board of County Commissioners. Maybe they thought it would be a waste of time to explain it to the “little people.”

If anyone else is interested in knowing the answers to these simple questions perhaps we could find out from our County Commissioners. We would need to do so before they vote on this at the Hearing and it becomes finished business, not worth re-visiting.

Would anyone who is interested please contact our County Commissioners? You can use the above as talking points or perhaps you have your own questions. Ask for them to give you an answer. Then please share the answer with me and everyone else who might be interested.

You can reach all of our Commissioners:
Danny Stevens
Chad Johnson
Ryan Bell
Marsha Drew
by calling the County at (352) 486-5218;
or you can email them at levybocc@circuit8.org.

Inquiring minds want to know,
Larry Feldhusen
FWIW
April 29, 2011 03:13PM
Tarmac, clammers resolve water issues

Mining company will pay for monitoring
By Ada Lang
[www.cedarkeybeacon.com]
Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm (Updated: April 28, 3:43 pm)

Tarmac and the Cedar Key Aquaculture Association have successfully resolved the issue that has vexed them for months — monitoring water quality to assure the clam industry is protected.

The two sides met in Cedar Key on Monday and say all involved agreed to terms that should make them relatively happy. Although the mine will be located miles from the island, concerns about its effects on water quality were raised months ago.

In a letter provided to the Cedar Key Beacon, Tarmac King Road Mine Plant Manager Jeff Harris pledged that the company will do surface and ground water sampling before any water leaves their property.

Harris also pledged the company will install three stations in the Waccassassa Bay area near their plant to monitor water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and pH. They will be located on three state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Shellfish Environmental Assessment Section station locations.

The monitors will be installed in two phases. In the first phase the reading will be handled manually, according to Harris. In the second phase the monitors will go "live" providing realtime data available by computer.

The continuous water monitoring program that will “provide a level of assurance that no harm will be done to the fishing and seafood industries in Cedar Key” will be established and maintained for life of the mine’s operation. The company has applied for a special exception permit to mine for hard rock limestone in the area near Inglis and Yankeetown for 100 years.

Rose Cantwell, President of the Cedar Key Aquaculture Association, said, “They really stepped up to the plate.” She said she “doesn’t want to sound over zealous, but hopefully this will set a precedent so that in the future, there will be more collaboration” between commercial development and industries in areas of environmental concern.

Tarmac officials approached the association in August 2010 after Tarmac applied to Levy County for the permit. They met with officials in the area, trying to determine if there were any concerns about the mine. They were pointed in the direction of the association and that began an “effort to be a good neighbor with Cedar Key — voluntarily,” Harris said.

The road to this collaboration was not always smooth. During earlier meetings Tarmac said it backed the water monitoring station plan, and in return the Association would not speak against the mine at the Levy County Planning

Commission meeting in April. However, at a meeting in Cedar Key on Thursday afternoon, Tarmac was presented with the start-up cost for the monitoring system and learned it was more expensive than anticipated, according to Harris. He said he was not able to commit to the full amount without approval from higher up in his organization.

With a quasi-judicial hearing on the permit by the Levy County Commission set for Tuesday, May 3, in Bronson, Tarmac went back to the drawing board and drafted the proposal that all involved agreed to on Monday.

City Commissioner Sue Colson, a member of the Association, said that she is very pleased with the outcome of the meeting because while the monitoring stations were not required by law, they will “provide invaluable real time data” and allow a “fast response, early investigation and problem solving” in the event of a water quality issue.

“Their commitment to us in this letter, is public now and ensures that they will perform,” Colson said. She praised their “methodology of reaching out and prevention.” Others present at the meeting reminded Harris that creating a mining job in Levy County is great, as long as it doesn’t cost an aquaculture job and reminded everyone present that one of the missions of the association is to be proactive about anything that could potentially degrade waters in the area. According to Harris, once all the environmental permits are in place, the very earliest that the monitoring would begin would be in January 2012. Two stations will be deployed initially “but at least six months before any further development is initiated on the mine site.”

A third monitoring station “will be deployed before Tarmac begins excavation to produce material for sale” which is expected to be in 2014 and “real time water data recording which will be uploaded to a server and accessible by the Cedar Key Aquaculture Association.
BoCC sets time limits for Tarmac hearing
April 30, 2011 12:43PM
BoCC sets time limits for Tarmac hearing

By Lou Elliott Jones
Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 12:00 am (Updated: April 30, 12:01 am)

Individuals have three minutes, groups 10 minutes at Tuesday meeting

That’s because Commission Chairman Danny Stevens (R-District 5) of Williston has set time limits for speaking during the 6:30 p.m. quasi-judicial hearing being held in Courtroom A at the County Courthouse in Bronson.

“The reason I’m putting time limits on it is realistically after a long period of time and sitting there, and being that late at night, your thought process isn’t going to be as crystal clear,” Stevens said.

Representatives from Crystal River and Citrus County are also expected to attend the meeting. Jim Farley, the mayor of Crystal River, spoke last month about that city’s concerns with the number of trucks — 250 per day — driving through the center of town on U.S. 19. The mine is expected to generate 1,000 truck trips per day after it begins operations in 2014.

The commission will decide at the end of the hearing on whether Tarmac will get to mine hard lime rock on 2,757 acres of the 4,750 acres it leases from Plum Creek timber company.

If approved, the mine would operate for 100 years — taking rock from about 25 acres per year to depths of 120 feet. Any rock deemed of lesser quality will be used to backfill pits, while 20 dredged pits will be left behind as lakes.

Tarmac has said it will restore an additional 4,526 acres of nearby land, most of which would be wetlands, to its original state to mitigate the changes to the mining parcel. The lands are used for pine tree farming. The “mitigation parcel” is on a priority list for the Florida Forever program and would be turned over to the state, thus protecting it from future development.

The Levy County Planning Commission recommended approval of the permit by a vote of 4-1 on April 4. The lone dissenting vote was by Ron Grant, the District 1 representative, appointed on Stevens’ nomination. At the same time, the planning board accepted the county Development Department’s recommendations of 14 conditions to be placed on the mine’s operations.

The planning board hearing, which also started at 6:30 p.m., ran until the vote was taken at 1:20 a.m. the following morning. One reason was the courtroom was packed with individuals wanting to address the issue. A similar crowd is expected to be on hand, especially the vocal opposition from Yankeetown and Inglis, the communities closest to the mine.

Stevens, in consultation with Levy County Attorney Anne Bast Brown, has set the following time limits:

+ 30 minutes for in-county government entities, such as Yankeetown and Inglis.

+ 10 minutes for out-of-county government entities, such as Crystal River and Citrus County.

+ 10 minutes for nonprofit organizations, such as Withlacoochee Area Residents and Sierra Club.

+ Three minutes for individuals.

Some groups and individuals have contacted the County Commission Office in Bronson to get their names on a list for speaking at the hearing.

Stevens said, “A lot of what was said at the planning board was people saying the same thing. I know everybody wants their name on the record to be for or against it. But when it gets repetitive or long-winded, you don’t really need that because it’s already been stated more than once.”

This is Tarmac’s third application or a special exception. The first was to dig a test pit using dynamite. The second was to bring in a large dragline to be used in dredging the mines. This hearing is for the commercial operation.

Lou Elliott Jones is the editor of the Chiefland Citizen in Levy County.
==============================

OP: It's noteworthy that Ms. Jones has in two consecutive articles has failed to point out that the County is violating it's own code by scheduling these meetings before all permits have been acquired. She also did not print the following letter to the editor that I had sent after the Planning hearing fiasco:

On April 4, I and about 100 other concerned folks wasted 7 hours of our lives speaking at a Levy County Planning board public hearing against approval for a Special Exception for a 100-year mega-mine in southwest Levy county. Why was our time simply wasted?

Expert testimony and data was presented to the Planning board that refuted many of the claims made by the applicant regarding economic benefits, the number of expected jobs to be gained, water consumption, and the risks from the mine to the health, safety and welfare of Levy and neighboring county residents. Furthermore, various speakers enumerated the many policies of Levy’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan that would be violated by an approval. Pro-mine speakers were mainly existing employees and Plum Creek (the landowners) executives.

A speaker pointed out that the hearing itself was illegal since all other permits required by county rules have not yet been obtained. One of the board members agreed.

The risks to Levy and neighboring county residents include:
Losing our wells to saltwater intrusion into the aquifer due to the proximity of the mine to the coastline,
Losing our homes to sinkholes due to sinking aquifer water levels, and
Losing our lives to traffic accidents due to the planned 1,000 heavy truck trips planned DAILY.

At 1:15 in the morning, the applicant was allowed to present closing arguments. When they finished, the Planning board did not allow anyone else to present a closing argument nor did they discuss a single issue, assertion or concern. They simply asked the Development Director (who for some reason adamantly advocates for the mine despite very questionable comprehensive plan compliance) “Mr. Corbitt, did you hear anything that would change your mind?” Of course the answer came swiftly: “No!” Not one point from 100 people, including expert witnesses, was considered. The vote was immediately taken and approved 4-1. Nearly everyone in the audience was stunned. The phrase “They didn’t discuss ANYTHING we said?” seemed to appear on everyone’s lips.

Our time was wasted because it was perfectly clear that all but one of the Planning board members cared not one whit about the data and legitimate concerns that were presented. All that mattered was Mr. Corbitt’s kingly ruling. Public input? The rule of law? Into the round file.

The risks mentioned above are real, palpable and must be weighed against the claimed (and challenged) benefits. When the BoCC meets on May 3 to rule on the Special Exception (already scheduled regardless of the permit still missing from the Army Corps), hopefully they will be more sensitive to their constituents’ health, safety and welfare, which they are sworn to protect.
Re: King Road Mine - Levy County Special Exception
May 03, 2011 10:17AM
Below, and attached, is the Agenda released by the County for the Tarmac Hearing at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, May 3rd in Bronson. It appears that Commission Chair Danny Stevens is being very tight with the time allowed for public comment. Consider this: Jeff Harris of Tarmac says that Tarmac has been working on this permit for seven years; their communication with the County is voluminous. Then, in the final hearing, the applicant gets unlimited time to present it's case but everyone else is limited - the constituents get three minutes each for input or questions. It makes one wonder what Danny is afraid of...



SPECIAL EXCEPTION 3-10
TARMAC AMERICA, LLC - APPLICANT


May 3, 2011

6:30 p.m. 1) Chair - Call meeting to order
County Attorney - Overview of quasi-judicial issues and procedures for meeting

2) Reporting of Ex Parte Communications by Commissioners

3) Swearing in of Witnesses

4) Development Department - Staff Report - Questions from Commissioners

5) Planning Department - Staff Report - Questions from Commissioners

6) Applicant Tarmac America, LLC, attorney and experts -Questions from Commissioners

7) Town of Yankeetown - 30 minutes maximum

8) Town of Inglis - 30 minutes maximum

9) Other local governments in Levy County - 30 minutes maximum each

10) City of Crystal River - 10 minutes maximum

11) Other local governments outside Levy County - 10 minutes maximum each

12) Withlacoochee Area Residents - 10 minutes maximum

13) Save the Manatee Club - 10 minutes maximum

14) Sierra Club and Nature Coast Coalition - 10 minutes maximum

15) Other organizations - 10 minutes maximum each

16) Members of the general public - 3 minutes maximum each

17) Applicant - Closing remarks/rebuttal

18) Questions, Discussion, Decision by BCC



If a person decides to appeal any decision made by the board with respect to any matter considered at this meeting, he or she will need a record of the proceedings, and that, for such purpose, he or she may need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made, which record includes the testimony and evidence upon which the appeal is to be based.
Attachments:
open | download - tarmac agenda.pdf (8.8 KB)
Re: King Road Mine - Levy County Special Exception
May 04, 2011 12:57PM
At (+/-) 2:41 am, the Levy County Board of County Commissioners approved, by a 3-1 vote, the Special Exception for major mining operations requested by Tarmac America LLC at the King Road location, with a longish list of conditions.

Commissioner Marsha Drew, representing the area most directly affected, was the dissenting vote.

Voting in favor were Commissioners Danny Stevens, Nathan Bell, and Chad Johnson. (The District 1 seat is currently vacant.)
Re: King Road Mine - Levy County Special Exception
May 04, 2011 03:44PM
Yes, it was a late night. This morning I have to admit that I felt extremely foolish. I can't believe I actually thought our County Commissioners might act responsibly in the best interests of all.

Conduct of the Hearing was especially disappointing ... the applicant, Tarmac, was allowed unlimited time to present their case with a long list of mediocre "Experts." The Commission Chairman - Danny Stevens - then limited the time for other parties: the Town of Yankeetown got 30 minutes to provide testimony from Dr. Mark Rains and Kevin Vought of DHI. W.A.R. Inc. was allowed all of 10 minutes to present testimony from Dr. Richard Weisskoff, a brilliant guy who could have kept the whole room's attention for at least an hour (note: Dr. Weisskoff has a PhD from Harvard in Economics; Tarmac's Economics "expert" is an appraiser with a bachelor's degree and no formal training in economics). Public input was limited to 3 minutes. Numerous parties pointed out that the Levy County Land Development Code specifically prohibits granting a Special Exception approval at this time; the Corps of Engineers must first approve following completion of their EIS.

None of this apparently ever got through to the majority of the Board. Commissioner Marsha Drew was the only one that acknowledged the importance of waiting for all of the agencies to complete their investigations of the project. Chad Johnson rambled; Ryan Bell questioned only minor, pointless items. None of the Commissioners directly addressed the question of whether they could even legally approve the Special Exception at this time. Deliberation by the Commission was the shortest part of a long night.

Today I'm embarrassed that I ever harbored an illusion that Commissioners Stevens, Bell, and Johnson might at least feign an appearance of acting diligently and lawfully.

Sadly disappointed...
Aftermath
May 04, 2011 04:22PM
NOTE: Larry's post arrived while I was still fiddling around with this one, that's why there's redundanciesdrinking smiley

This hearing was essentially a repeat of the Planning Commission hearing, ie, an obvious predisposition of the outcome. At this hearing, tho, there was Unlimited Time allowed for the applicant, tightly restricted time for everyone else.

Yankeetown's attorney was not allowed to cross-examine the applicant's witnesses.

Despite constant reminders by speakers that the county's comprehensive plan and LDC prohibited the hearings themselves, let alone any decision, since all permits that are REQUIRED BY LAW are not yet in. There was virtually no debate - except for Commissioner Drew, the other 3 essentially said, no matter the language of the law, they (and the Development Director) were free to interpret it any way they want, cuz well, that's the way we've always done things 'round heah. The attempt by Commissioner Johnson to explain away that attitude by someone who is supposedly a lawmaker would have been hilarious if not so pathetic.

There was NO discussion about the comments from all the municipalities present about the cost to infrastructure and the dangers of the 1,000 80,000-pound truck trips each day, let alone threats to the drinking water supply, potential saline intrusion into the aquifer and many other concerns.

There was NO discussion about the wildly diverse "expert" views on hydrology and economics. Hey, the applicant would present nothin but facts, right?

NO concerns of any kind were discussed, let alone debated.

Just a question or two about items I can't even remember, they lacked such impact, from each newcomer

The conditions mentioned above by Doug were not even read, let alone discussed.

Kudos to Commissioner Drew for grilling the incredibly dense and obviously biased Development Director (who constantly referred to the applicant as "we" ) and for taking a lonely stand for the rule of law and procedural ethics. Despite her accurate, intelligent and logical presentation, the lack of a southern accent apparently doomed the facts.

In the end, however, the public's interest, health, safety and welfare took a back seat to special interests, a dangerous trend in all levels of government these days, it seems.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/04/2011 04:30PM by Ed Candela.
Re: King Road Mine - Levy County Special Exception
May 06, 2011 04:59PM
Re: King Road Mine - Levy County Special Exception
May 06, 2011 05:06PM
Citrus Chronicle
Levy county OKs Tarmac mine
Yankeetown rep votes no


http://www.chronicleonline.com/content/levy-county-oks-tarmac-mine
Re: King Road Mine - Levy County Special Exception
May 09, 2011 02:46PM
Doug_Dame2 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> At (+/-) 2:41 am, the Levy County Board of County
> Commissioners approved, by a 3-1 vote, the Special
> Exception for major mining operations requested by
> Tarmac America LLC at the King Road location, with
> a longish list of conditions.
>
> Commissioner Marsha Drew, representing the area
> most directly affected, was the dissenting vote.
>
> Voting in favor were Commissioners Danny Stevens,
> Nathan Bell, and Chad Johnson. (The District 1
> seat is currently vacant.)

Correction: That would be Stuart Ryan Bell, not Nathan...endorsed (and partially funded) by the Levy and Yankeetown/Inglis Republican Organizations. Same can be said for Mr. Johnson. (ergo present & past membership assistd in funding our own demise) Nice?
It wouldn't be so bad if they hadn't been WARNED in advance? For all many care to say about Noel Desmond...it would have led to a TIED vote at best? Past mistakes are best LEARNED from, although I doubt we ever will.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2011 02:52PM by Michael Peters.
Re: King Road Mine - Levy County Special Exception
May 09, 2011 04:36PM
Larry Feldhusen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yes, it was a late night. This morning I have to
> admit that I felt extremely foolish. I can't
> believe I actually thought our County
> Commissioners might act responsibly in the best
> interests of all.
>
> Conduct of the Hearing was especially
> disappointing ... the applicant, Tarmac, was
> allowed unlimited time to present their case with
> a long list of mediocre "Experts." The Commission
> Chairman - Danny Stevens - then limited the time
> for other parties: the Town of Yankeetown got 30
> minutes to provide testimony from Dr. Mark Rains
> and Kevin Vought of DHI. W.A.R. Inc. was allowed
> all of 10 minutes to present testimony from Dr.
> Richard Weisskoff, a brilliant guy who could have
> kept the whole room's attention for at least an
> hour (note: Dr. Weisskoff has a PhD from Harvard
> in Economics; Tarmac's Economics "expert" is an
> appraiser with a bachelor's degree and no formal
> training in economics). Public input was limited
> to 3 minutes. Numerous parties pointed out that
> the Levy County Land Development Code specifically
> prohibits granting a Special Exception approval at
> this time; the Corps of Engineers must first
> approve following completion of their EIS.
>
> None of this apparently ever got through to the
> majority of the Board. Commissioner Marsha Drew
> was the only one that acknowledged the importance
> of waiting for all of the agencies to complete
> their investigations of the project. Chad Johnson
> rambled; Ryan Bell questioned only minor,
> pointless items. None of the Commissioners
> directly addressed the question of whether they
> could even legally approve the Special Exception
> at this time. Deliberation by the Commission was
> the shortest part of a long night.
>
> Today I'm embarrassed that I ever harbored an
> illusion that Commissioners Stevens, Bell, and
> Johnson might at least feign an appearance of
> acting diligently and lawfully.
>
> Sadly disappointed...


**I agree about Dr. Weiskoff, learning later that his resume' of former Students includes George Walker Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush AND John Kerry is impressive to say the least. 2 PRESIDENTS and a distinguished SENATOR (probably lots more if digging deeper, pardon the pun); easily the most brilliant man to appear before the LCBOCC in their collective lives...but lo, his opinions were constrained to a whopping 4.5 minutes? He's a Professor Emeritus from Both Harvard and Yale and has Taught at BOTH. 1 of the premier Professors in Economics, in the World, bar none. His data didn't matter, because they had an Agenda. ONLY when it is realized (After the Fact with Further Plummeting Actual Real Estate Values (ergo destroyed TAX Base), the MASS EXODUS out of here, (by any and all with sense, realizing this 100 Year Boondogle is going to benefit those in Bronson and Chiefland ONLY...IF There, at all?) the LOSS of jobs, quality of life and it won't be until the frist blast shakes Your House (to it's untimely DEATH) that You will realize Just How Caustic having the BIGGEST Mine, run by a Single Operator, in the History of the State of Florida, IN YOUR BACK YARD, is going to be.

IF They really wanted to generate income for the county...simply taking the few hours (that I did, 3 YEARS AGO) to examine the 350+ parcels (as in Sections....640 ACRES Each) that Plum Creek Currently still owns, that a significant portion of have NO TREES ON and haven't since 'back then' (because the next aim is DEVELOPMENT, Not more tree growing) they could trim that $18M Shortfall for the last 3 yrs that Oz Barker was confronted with, back then (while a Candidate)? [Folks, IMAGINE for a second...OWNING 640 ACRES that You pay less than $2200. on in taxes yearly, AFTER You no longer qualified for the exemptions, for YEARS? That's Plum Creek's Story and it's been Known by the County, since 2008 along with a room full of people when Oz Barker was pointed in this direction?

No One should have been "disappointed"...as there wouldn't have been a Planning Commission Hearing if it wasn't a 'done deal'. From there on, all efforts were both futile and predictable. I still argue that they're going to NEED a Rail system to the Barge Canal to make this a cost effective endeavor, because there simply isn't (nor will there be for the forseeable future) a NEED for Construction Quality Aggregate (beyond their obvious intention of putting 48 OTHER Mines already producing the SAME Product, CLOSER to where it's needed in that 100 mile range they (LCBOCC) just authorizeded and that'll put probably 700+ people out of Jobs in OTHER COUNTIES....won't they all Just Love US?

Then there's that issue of TRUCKS Trying to go South (and or EAST) and the newly planned 'diversion' NORTH to 121/SSW on 336 @ Lebanon Station dumping the Giant Dump Trucks out on Hwy 40, 2 miles West of Dunnellon (bound for their DownTown National Historic District), right between the signs in the attached photos. I was called a LIAR...photos don't lie (taken the following afternoon close to sunset) first looks WEST just shy of the 336 intersection, 2nd looks EAST just before You enter MARION COUNTY (where the Road Quality dramatically improves as noted in the picture) and just prior our own local 'dead man's curve' on Hwy 40 Eastbound.

No One In Either Marion County, OR DUNNELLON Government was approached by TarMac prior the meeting Tuesday Night. The signs are in clearly legible English, yet I was a LIAR? You be the judge, and know that DUNNELLON will probably put up ROADBLOCKS to stop these trucks unless TM Comes across with lots and lots of CA$H....what's losing HALF Your business and residential base worth to them?

It was going to be 800-850 Trucks heading South formerly, now 350-400...now mostly through DUNNELLON, on roads not rated, through NEIGHBORHOODS and a central business district that can't handle the EXISTING Traffic...this will be fun to watch play out.

Some say this is far from over (and I agree with them) along w/the 'hurry up to avoid loss of local control issue' of HB991, however when the state finds out how TM is exploiting the STATES' resources, it'll take more than lining a FEW pockets to secure their residency imho. You don't KILL 700+ jobs to gain 35. You don't KILL 2 towns for 1 hole in the ground. You don't destroy highways for 100 miles when the same product is available 12 miles away (unless the 100 mile away stuff is THAT MUCH CHEAPER!), and You don't destroy the water table for future generations in 2, Possibly 3 (or more...any body out there have a 100 yr. "Crystal Ball"?) Counties all on the say of ONE County's Commissioners, for what they percieved in their short term careers' best interests, and that's why the STATE should have been over this decision from the Outset.

People like Professor Weiskoff get HOURS in front of decision makers where we all learn the REAL and Complete negative impacts.
Folks standing up there stating that Property Values RISE with the insertion of a Local Mine (oh Really? Guy, I have a House to sell You, RIGHT Now, SHort SAle for HALF of what we owe on it, BEFORE the Mine formally goes in to operation) in to the local 'economy' (shades of S&S) are embarrassed off the stage, and our historically felon filled BOCC, and County Administration has NOTHING to do with anything more than joining us in the Audience and LISTENING, as it, in OUR Case, SHOULD Be.

I know, I know...why don't I tell ya how I REALLY feel, huh?
Pee on 'em...look at the pictures and realize who LIVES HERE (and drives to Dunnellon pretty much Daily now) and who was F.O.S.
They LIED to Chad "Cracker" Johnson, ON THE RECORD, immediately before his vote. Apparently when he was PLANTING SIGNS to Get ELECTED he never bothered to notice the weight limitations (FYI, he had a Campaign Sign, as did Stuart Ryan Bell, within 50 FEET of the weight signs?), OR he didn't CARE that he was being LIED to...either way, they're a pretty sorry excuse for County Commissioners and NEIGHBORS of Citrus, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Suwannee, Alachua, and a half Dozen OTHER Counties stretching all the way down to Hillsborough and TAMPA! The 'blowback' on this 'vote' hasn't even begun to be felt yet...when it comes, look out.
Just a prediction from a guy who's watched a lot of Kangaroo Courts, after a lot of dog&pony shows.
-Mick
PS: How's that CROW taste, all You Bell & Johnson "supporters"?



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Yankeetown to sue over Tarmac mine
May 20, 2011 10:23AM
Yankeetown to sue over Tarmac mine

By Lou Elliott Jones
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 10:03 pm

The Yankeetown Town Council has decided to file a civil action asking the 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Levy County to review the Levy County Commission’s approval of a conditional special exception permit to Tarmac King Road mine near Inglis.

The decision was anticipated by the County Commission, which on Tuesday approved spending $10,000 to hire a firm specializing in such cases at the request of County Attorney Anne Bast Brown.

The Yankeetown Council did not set a budget for its representation by City Attorney Ralph Brooks, although at one point it did discuss budgeting $5,000 and $7,500, in an audio recording of the special meeting.

Jeff Harris, the mine’s manager, said Yankeetown’s decision to petition the court was not unexpected.
“I believe they had stated that night they were going to,” Harris said. “I’m definitely not surprised.”
He said the company feels if has a solid case.

The Town Council has decided to petition the court for a writ of certiorari, which is asking the court to order that the documents associated with the May 3 County Commission hearing be brought to the court for review by the judge.
The Council will ask for a ruling on whether the commission followed its own rules in calling the hearing and granting the permit. It’s a point mine opponents raised at the county Planning Commission hearing on April 4 when it recommended approval of the project by a 4-1 vote and a Board of County Commissioners hearing where the permit was approved by a 3-1 vote.

Opponents noted the county’s rules call for all permits to be in hand before a hearing can be held on a permit application. The company is waiting on an Army Corps of Engineers permit for the mine. The permit, required under the federal Clean Water Act, was applied for in July 2007.

On the recording, Yankeetown Mayor Dawn Clary voices her reservations about filing the petition. “I’m ambivalent that we will win the battle but lose the war,” she said at one point. “We could win this and the next day they come in under the rules and file again.”

Later she asks, “Should we lose under the new rules (would the city) be liable for the county’s cost?” Clary was referring to a bill considered by the state Legislature in the recent session that would require losing sides in land development suits to pay the winning side’s costs.

Tarmac’s plans call for mining hard rock limestone on 2,757 acres of a 4,750-acre site at the rate of 25 acres a year for approximately 110 years. The rock will be mined to depths of 120 feet by blasting and water-dredging.
About 6 million tons of rock per year will be removed, leaving behind more than 20 lakes surrounded by berms to prevent damage from storms and hurricanes.

The operation will use 13.8 million gallons of water in the process, with 120,000 gallons lost every day to the 500 truck loads that will carry the rock to road and building construction within 70 miles of the plant.
The company will also do “mitigation” on another 4,000-plus acres that will be dedicated to the Florida Forever program.

While the company said it will hire 35 employees for the mining operation, it has estimated it will generate 781 jobs during the construction phase of the processing facility and a total of 304 jobs when indirect employment is considered. The company estimated it would bring $120 million in economic benefit to the county.
Yankeetown, Withlacoochee aim to stop Tarmac
June 21, 2011 12:19PM
Residents suing to overturn Levy County’s decision allowing mining project

By Lou Elliott Jones
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 12:00 am (Updated: June 21, 12:01 am)

YANKEETOWN — The Town of Yankeetown and the Withlacoochee Area Residents are separately asking a judge to overturn the Levy County Commission’s approval of a conditional special exception permit for the proposed Tarmac King Road mining project near Inglis.

Yankeetown is petitioning for a writ of certiorari, basically a review of the commissioners’ decision to grant the exception, while the Withlacoochee group is asking for an injunction on the grounds the approval is inconsistent with the county’s own Comprehensive Plan on environmentally sensitive lands.

A hearing has been set on the Yankeetown petition for July 20 by 8th Judicial Circuit Judge Robert Rountree Jr. No date has been set for the WAR suit.

The County Commission voted 3-1 to approve a special exception permit May 4, allowing mining of hard limerock on 2,757 acres of a 4,750-acre site for 110 years. The rock will be mined to depths of 120 feet by blasting and water-dredging. About 6 million tons of rock per year will be removed, leaving behind more than 20 lakes surrounded by berms.

The public hearing and approval came even though the proposal has yet to receive a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The mining company applied for the permit in 2007 and the Corps is expected to release a draft Environmental Impact Statement later this year.

In the petition, Yankeetown claims the county commission violated its own ordinances:

* that require all federal, state and local permits be obtained before the application for a special exception is made; and

* that the project is located in environmentally sensitive lands — a coastal zone and a coastal high hazard area, and contains listed species, both of which are protected from mining.

Yankeetown Mayor Dawn Clary said the town filed the suit because of concern about the impact the mine will have on water wells and for another important reason.

“I think Yankeetown is a very, very environmentally sensitive area and we are just a town of environmentalists,” she said.

Clary said some residents are still concerned by Tarmac’s refusal to perform a dye test on the groundwater to see if the flow of groundwater would go from the mines to wells used by residents.

“You never really know until you do the test,” she said.

“We do live kind of on the edge here,” she continued. “We’re in a very hard spot and we went through a lot for our water plant.”

The town dedicated a new water plant about two years ago.

The Withlacoochee group said 121 of its members live in Levy County and make use of its natural resources. The suit states:

* Surrounding lands “could be adversely impacted by the long-term impacts of the proposed Tarmac mine,” including wildlife and wetlands;

* Residents could suffer adverse effects to the Comprehensive Plan, including health and safety, and environmental or natural resources which exceed the interest held by all county residents;

* Residents’ ability to engage in educational, scientific, recreational and advocacy activities would be harmed by the county’s failure to comply with its Comprehensive Plan for the Withlacoochee ecosystem;

* It fails to protect the “Florida Outstanding Waters” of the nearby Waccasassa Preserve State Park — a national natural landmark, as required by the environmentally sensitive lands policy element;

* It could endanger the nearby 945,000-acre Big Bend Seagrass Aquatic Preserve, the sealife within, and commercial seafood harvesting.

Lou Elliott Jones is the editor of the Chiefland Citizen.
GREAT NEWS
July 12, 2011 10:36AM
City to join lawsuit against mine

By Mike Wright
Monday, July 11, 2011 at 9:49 pm

CRYSTAL RIVER — Council members just can’t shake the nightmare of 500 rock trucks rumbling through town six days a week for years on end.
The city council voted 5-0 Monday night to join an activist group in suing the Levy County Commission for its approval of the Tarmac King Road Mine north of Inglis.

Crystal River City Council members debated joining the lawsuit by Withlacoochee Area Residents or helping the group financially.

After some discussion, the council agreed the lawsuit would carry greater weight with a municipality included as a plaintiff.
“If the lawsuit prevails, we will benefit,” Councilwoman Maureen McNiff said.

Tarmac is proposing to mine limerock on 4,700 acres. By the company’s own estimates, about 250 trucks would head south Monday through Saturday mornings to customers in a 100-mile region. Those same trucks would return empty to the mine later in the day.
City officials say U.S. 19 is already congested through the downtown area and rock trucks would make a difficult situation much worse.
City officials attended the Levy County Planning Commission and county commission meetings in hopes of defeating the mine.
The Yankeetown council is also suing to stop the mine.

W.A.R. says the county should not have approved the mine before the company first received a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, city attorney George Angeliadis said.

He estimated the city’s legal costs at $5,000 to $15,000. Council members said they could pull the plug on their participation in the lawsuit if costs creep higher.

McNiff also suggested the city ask Citrus County commissioners to join the fight.

Coincidentally, Citrus passed on a chance to oppose the mine in 2010. County Administrator Brad Thorpe passed staff concerns about the rock mine to the attention of commissioners but received no response, so he dropped the matter.

Crystal River Council members said the county should oppose the mine for traffic not only through their city, but also in Homosassa.
Re: King Road Mine - Levy County Special Exception
July 16, 2011 01:15PM
County needs to echo concerns about rock trucks

Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 12:00 am (Updated: July 16, 12:02 am)

by the Chronicle Editorial Board

THE ISSUE:
Rock truck reaction.
OUR OPINION:
Lawsuit suits the circumstance.

Whether litigation can hold back hundreds of rock trucks has yet to be seen, but the Crystal River City Council is right to give it a shot.

By joining with the Withlacoochee Area Residents in filing suit over the Levy County Commission’s blessing of the Tarmac King Road Mine north of Inglis, city officials are adding government muscle to the fight to fend off a daily onslaught of 500 rock trucks rumbling up and down U.S. 19 six days a week for years on end.
Citrus County government should add its legal muscle, too, since Crystal River is but a fraction of the area to be adversely impacted.

In its lawsuit, WAR — a citizens’ activist group — contends Levy County should not have approved the mine without an Army Corps of Engineers permit first being obtained.

Regardless, Levy officials did — and will — act in what’s deemed the best interest of their community. A rock mine translates to new jobs for years to come, thus stimulating a stagnant economy.

For Crystal River and Citrus County, there are few perks to the project, unless one considers an out-of-county trucker grabbing a soda at a convenience store a perk.

While the likelihood of stopping the mine is questionable at best, the prospect of mitigating the impact will be aided by the city joining WAR in the suit.

If not willing to be a party in the lawsuit, Citrus County officials should demonstrate to Crystal River and WAR officials that it acknowledges the undesirable impact the rock trucks will have on our community. By reaching out to Levy commissioners and the principals behind the mine, efforts to mitigate the impact — via bypass and/or routing alternatives — could be achievable.

Had the Suncoast Parkway extension been funded, the rock-truck concern would be minimal. However, short of legally halting the mine, seeking money-backed concessions from the mining operation to offset the impact would be good.

With that being an uncertainty, however, the Crystal River/WAR lawsuit correctly sends the message that Citrus County should not be the victim of Levy County’s self-interest. Our county leaders need to echo that message.
Re: King Road Mine - Levy County Special Exception
July 19, 2011 02:47PM
As most everyone is aware, the Town of Yankeetown filed for a writ of certiori to have the court review the County's decision in granting the Special Exception to allow the King Road Mine.

Levy County file a Motion to Dismiss the petition. At a Hearing on Monday morning (July 18th) the Town's response prevailed and Judge Robert Roundtree denied the Motion to Dismiss.

The County also filed for a continuance of the hearing on the Town's Petition. It appears the County Attorney, Anne Bast Brown, would be unavailable on the intitially scheduled date of July 20th. Judge Roundtree questioned whether Ms. Brown's attendance was really necessary due to the fact that the County had hired outside legal counsel to answer the Petition and was joined by Tarmac's attorneys. Ms. Brown responded that, no, her presence wasn't really necessary but she would like to be there. The Town offered no objection and the Judge re-scheduled the Hearing. This was no small undertaking; trying to accommodate five lawyers from the County in between their depositions, vacations, etc. It bordered on comedy, looking at the array of legal firepower present to represent the County; at least until one realized that it was ultimately the taxpayers paying for it (I guess we're paying Anne Brown a salary to be on staff and then we pay for additional lawyers when something needs to be answered in court. One would assume that she advised the County in approving the Special Exception; why not her explain the County's position to the Judge?)

Judge Roundtree finallyfound a date that suited all and set the Oral Argument Hearing for August 8 at 2 pm for 2 hours of arguments. I assume that means each side gets an hour. Does that mean the Town's one attorney gets an hour and the five attorney's for the County get 12 minutes each? Or does only one attorney for the County get to speak and the other four are just there for moral support (and, of course, to send a bill to the taxpayers)?
Re: King Road Mine - Levy County Special Exception
July 21, 2011 12:53PM
Judge denies Tarmac motion to dismiss petition

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor - Chiefland Citizen
Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 12:01 pm


The Town of Yankeetown's petition to overturn a conditional permit for a 2, 757 acre limerock mine on 4,750 acres near Inglis is alive after Tarmac's motion to dismiss was denied by Circuit Judge Robert E. Rountree Jr.
In a short morning hearing the judge also granted a request to move a hearing on whether Yankeetown has standing to file the petition for certiorari from Wednesday until Aug. 8. While only an hour was requested for the second hearing, Rountree said, "Knowing how many lawyers we have here I'll set aside two hours."
Brian A. Bolves, the attorney representing the Levy County Commission, said in a motion that Yankeetown did not have standing because it is only slightly impacted by the county's decision to grant a special exception permit conditioned on Tarmac winning approval of a Clean Water Act permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"On pages 2,3 and 4 of their motion, they admit the mine will cause an impact," said Yankeetown City Attorney Rolf Brooks.
"It's a half-inch ... quarter-inch that water level will drop ... or six inches during the rainy season," said Rountree.
"The question is does the (county comprehensive land use) code say they can't have a hearing or does the code say they can't grant a permit," the judge said. "As I read the code they cannot grant the permit, and you (Brooks) said they cannot hold a hearing."
Rountree said Yankeetown's concern is when do they get a hearing. Bolves said the town had its opportunity at the Levy County Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners hearings.
Frank Matthews, Tarmac's attorney, said the public will also have an opportunity when the Corps holds a hearing and when the county's two commissions consider an excavation permit for the mine.
Another suit, filed by the Withlacoochee Area Residents Association, which contends the county violated its Comprehensive Land Use plan by allowing the mining operation in an environmentally sensitive area and before the Corps permit was approved.
The City of Crystal River has joined the WAR suit due to concerns about the amount of truck traffic the mine would send through the middle of the city — 52 percent of 500 trucks making daily round trips when the mine starts operation in 2014. A city official testified at the planning and county commission hearings that the truck traffic would have an adverse impact on the city's tourism, quality of life and economy.
A hearing on the county's filing for summary judgment in the WAR suit has been set for September.
Re: King Road Mine - Levy County Special Exception
January 13, 2012 11:27AM
HB 503 provides more certainty and predictability for businesses seeking to expand, said Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City and the bill's sponsor. The bill prohibits cities and counties from requiring state or federal agency approvals for a local development permit, expands the use of general permits for filling wetlands, and creates regional action teams for expedited permits for certain businesses.
***

I thought Republicans were supposed to be "for" smaller government, but these guys keep trying to grow state power at the expense of local governments. What gives?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2012 11:36AM by Ed Candela.
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