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Skanawan Residents Oppose Gravel Pit

Lisa Satayut

Skanawan residents showed power in numbers when about 60 residents, or 20 percent of the population, attended a meeting to contest a proposed gravel pit.

Marathon County employee and Skanawan business owner Paul Daigle owns land ripe for the digging off County Highway S, and  County Materials Corporation wants the mineral rights to parts of it. The mine would sit on a 45-acre parcel with 33 of those acres designated for the non-metallic mining operation.

Jim Small, a geologist with County Materials Corporation, said the pit would be dug in seven to 11-acre increments and immediately be reclaimed with new trees, native plants and topsoil.

Daigle, who requested the meeting with residents, quickly found himself defending the project.

Residents say another gravel pit in the area would decrease property values and increase the number of hauler trucks. They also fear future expansion of mining activity on the Daigle property and argue it does not mesh with the town’s land use or zoning plan.

Skanawan resident Wally Horabik and his wife Jacque live off County Highway S and would be 1,400 feet from the proposed gravel pit. Horabik said they will move if the project is approved. His biggest concern would be safety.

“There were many times I took a ditch because a truck came around the corner too fast. If it kills one my children it’s going to be bad,” he said referring to a former highway project where material was hauled along the road he lives on.

Daigle said the gravel pit would be small compared to others in the area, and he is exercising his personal property rights as well as following the land use plan for Skanawan. Daigle said no more than 25 trucks would haul in one day, but most likely it would be around seven daily.

“We feel we are exercising our property rights fully in compliance with the land use plan Skanawan has and the zoning that’s in place right in this town,” Daigle said.

The issue will be discussed at the August Skanawan town meeting, but a decision will not be made at that meeting. American Asphalt also requested to dig a separate mine on the Daigle property, but that is now on hold. Residents are urging the town board to vote against the gravel pit

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