/ Letters / ‘Consider the mining situation’

‘Consider the mining situation’

May 26, 2020

To the Editor:

There has been a number of letters published regarding the mining issue. Allow me to explain, what appears to be, a common confusion on this matter. Let’s use an example that most people can relate to. Suppose you buy some acreage, or a lot in some locality, with the intention of building a home. Either by your own research, or that of a real estate company, the zoning has been recorded that favors your plan. Your next step is to apply for a zoning permit. The zoning department verifies a number of things including the intended use, in this case a home, and any setbacks from the property lines. If all conforms to the “rules” you are issued a zoning permit. Now before you apply for a building permit, you have a question about the soil conditions where you want to build. Perhaps the ground may be too rocky to allow a basement, or the area is very “mushy.” Then you would hire someone to do soil boring to determine if you can construct a basement, or what might be another alternative. Based upon what was found you then apply for a building permit, and here you receive a list of regulations — usually a reference to the Uniform Building Code — that specifies what is required to properly construct the building. You might never see those “rules” since your contractor will be very familiar with them. But you will probably also get any local rules set by the local municipality-city, township, etc. These can include the height for the building, certain materials to be used (such as required in a fire prone area), times of the day for construction, etc. The point here is that at this level of government, the rules can be very loose or very restrictive. When the project complies with these rules, a building permit is issued. This process is one which very few are familiar with.

Now let’s consider the mining situation. They applied for, and received a zoning permit, which verified that their intended purpose was approved under those rules. Then they determined to drill some holes. Since mining is very expensive on all, if not most levels, they want to find out what, if anything, is “down there.” You did they same if there was a question on your foundation. After they determine that in at least one area there is the potential to build a mine, they apply for a permit to construct the mine. Now comes the time and situation where “local” control prevails. Here is where all of the conditions can be set that will allow, or make it very expensive to construct a mine. At this time, your input is most important. But please understand: up to this point everything done was legal, but there is more. Recall all of the hubbub regarding Marshfield Hospital plans, or the condo project next to Hwy. 51. As a matter of law, once the zoning is established, no one can legally prevent the application from a building permit. There are many court cases to prove that. What is important is that at this point, all of the local “rules” come into play, and here’s where peoples’ input to the local authorities is most important! I am not in favor of mining in Oneida County, but at the same time I respect our laws, and they have to be enforced as written. We don’t have to agree with many things that happen, but we should respect the authorities who have the job of enforcing them.

Tom Doberstein




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