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Proposed Hazelhurst Gravel Pit Raises Concerns

Wikimedia Commons KKK2352

Oneida County recently approved a rezone that will pave the way for a gravel pit operation in the township of Hazelhurst, but a number of local residents say it’s too close for comfort – and for their health.

Ted Ronk of Minocqua opposes the gravel pit because he lives in the Timber Ridge subdivision, a mile from the northern edge of that proposed site. He wants the Minocqua Town Board to help prevent that from happening.

Addressing the board, he points out the reasons for his stance: 

“What will be the measurables? “Downwind air quality for that silica dust, noise levels beyond the gravel pit, subsurface water contamination and aquifer water levels and hours of operation. If those might be the measurements, and I don’t what they will be, who conducts the measurements? Who tracks the performance?"

Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim sympathized with Ronk but says he is reluctant to enter the dispute with a neighboring township. 

“I would prefer not to try to meddle with what’s happened so far. We may not like it, but it is in another community. It is their property. But I certainly would take interest in whatever conditional use permits are forthcoming and hope the county considers not just neighbors in the immediate area, but surrounding communities as well.”

The matter will return to Oneida county later for the conditional use permit. Opponents are hoping to muster sufficient support so that the county will attach enough restrictions to protect not only their health, but also their way of life in the Northwoods.

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