Wisconsin city allows quarries to expand

The City of Madison, Wisconsin has approved a special zoning district, allowing existing quarries in the city to expand.

Council members unanimously approved the change on a voice vote Tuesday. Madison had no zoning related to mining prior to the vote, but operations the city annexed from surrounding areas were allowed to continue their operations. The changes let operators mine adjacent land they own.

“The city benefits from the close proximity of quarry resources for local road and other construction projects,” an explanation of the ordinance change said, adding that the city “also recognizes that quarrying operations near the city present potential health and welfare concerns to neighboring property owners.”

Ald Denise DeMarb, 16th District, said the zoning does not allow for new quarries to open. She said there are four quarries in the city.
Under the new zoning, operators are required to hold at least one public meeting between January 4 and February 15 with the owners, city officials and city residents.

Additionally, operators must obtain a conditional use permit if they plan to use explosive blasting techniques to free minerals.

Requirements for the permit include installing at least four seismographs near the boundaries of the mining site and posting the results on a publicly accessible website within five business days of blasting.

DeMarb said she’s heard from some residents that they are opposed to blasting at quarries, but since state law allows for quarries to use explosives, the city can’t remove that ability.

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