Letter: Support Your Residents

At this years June and July Sister Bay Plan Commission meetings the former Village Administrator and the village attorney stated the judge has ordered us to settle this issue by mediation. If we do not accept this agreement, we don’t know what will happen. It was stated the zoning text change amendment, to allow quarries as a conditional use in the B-1 Business District was needed to get to the next phase, the conditional use permit, which has not been finalized yet.

Upon checking public court records, it appears there is much more to this story.

In 2011, the quarry’s attorney asked the court to rule on the case without going to trial. The judge denied the request. The judge reviewed three issues before the court and discussed several other issues: Ordinance violation for invalidation; Expansion of a non-conforming (grandfathered) use beyond boundaries; Expansion of a non-conforming (grandfathered) use in frequency and volume.

The court also questioned what remedies would be available and made statements regarding several other issues. The quarry’s attorney then suggested using non-binding mediation and the village attorney agreed to give mediation a try.

In 2012, after unsuccessfully trying to resolve the matter with mediation, the quarry’s attorney again asked to use mediation to resolve the issues. The judge then ordered mediation in hopes the matter could be resolved. The court further stated if the parties could not resolve the matter by mediation, the court would set a date for trial and decide the case on its merits.

Numerous meetings were then held with the mediator, the attorneys, the quarry manager, the former village administrator, and the village president. Other meetings were held in closed session (in secret) with the Village Board of Trustees. Those meetings resulted in the present “tentative” agreements.

In July of this year, the village attorney advised the court by letter,“The negotiation and discussion process has concluded and now the approval process is underway.” This would explain why several members of the plan commission had little or no interest in what the residents affected most had to say.

After years of showing nothing but contempt and indifference for the Villages’ officials, the residents, their health, and the enjoyment of their homes and property, village officials now propose to reward this behavior with a second even larger quarry, in violation of the present village land use plan and zoning ordinances, and at the expense of village residents.

The Villages’ land use plan and zoning ordinances were developed after considerable time, thought, and public input, to reflect the values of the village and to create a plan for success in the future. The proposed agreements violate all of this. If Village officials have no respect for the Village land use plan, or zoning ordinances, and the time, thought, and effort it took to create them, why should anyone else?

A small unnoticed “do-it-yourself” quarry where the customer quarries, loads, and hauls the rock, as a sideline of a grocery store becomes a separate commercial industrial scale operation and a public nuisance, and this isn’t an expansion of a non-conforming use?

The rock in the quarry, Niagara Dolomite, is not found only in the Village. This rock can be found almost anywhere just west of Lake Michigan from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan all the way south into Illinois. The only way to permanently solve this nuisance is to either buy out or relocate the quarry to a site suitable for a quarry operation.

The Village Board of Trustees should deny the text change amendment and support the residents who have invested and live in the village.

Steve Musinsky

Sister Bay, Wis.

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