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County Officials Encourage Public Comment on Mining Ordinance Draft

Iron county officials are encouraging public comment in the coming weeks on a draft metallic mining ordinance. 

An Iron County Citizen’s forum last week hosted Zoning Administrator Tom Bergman and special counsel Chris Jaekels answering questions about the document. 

Forum spokesperson Terry Daulton says their message is that public comment is welcome prior to a public hearing on a final draft. 

“And they’re really encouraging people to take a look and read through the draft ordinance; it’s still very much a working document. So information that comes in now can really be included and added prior to that official hearing.”

The hearing is yet to be scheduled.

Daulton says last week’s information session helped clarify what the ordinance can regulate.

She says the state’s mining law doesn’t allow local control of certain things like shoreland zoning and stormwater construction sites…but does allow for local regulations over buffer zones and lighting. 

The ordinance is being written to regulate what’s called a planned unit development, or PUD.

Daulton explains that means there’s more room for negotiation around a specific mining project.

“Versus being a strict standard like a mining district – where you have to meet standard A, B and C and if you met them you would automatically get the permit. This allows for more tailoring of the criteria to the specific project.”

The latest draft of the ordinance is posted on Iron County’s website.

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