Potential Hobart quarry site denied rezoning
By Kevin Boneske
HOBART – A request to rezone six parcels near County Line Road, Nathan Road and South Overland Road from A-2 Exclusive Agricultural District to A-1 Agricultural District was denied Nov. 2 by the Hobart Village Board.
Director of Planning and Code Compliance Todd Gerbers said the rezoning would have allowed permitted uses on the property related to agriculturally-based operations, along with additional uses, such as for a park, recreation site, golf course and single-family dwelling.
Gerbers said different uses or operations would require a conditional use permit.
A potential different use, namely a quarry for non-metallic mining, drew opposition from neighbors.
Michels Road & Stone, Inc., which applied for the rezoning, stated in its application the purpose was for a quarry.
The board held a public hearing on the rezoning request Oct. 5, when it decided to postpone a vote until Nov. 2.
Village Administrator Aaron Kramer said a subsequent hearing on the conditional use request from Michels Road & Stone to allow a quarry there ended up being null and void with the denied rezoning, because the property needed to be zoned A-1 to possibly grant a permit.
Andrew Simon, legal counsel for Michels Road & Stone, said the rezoning request met the requirements in the village code, and was consistent with Hobart’s comprehensive plan as an agricultural or residential use of the area.
“We’re simply asking for a rezone at this point…,” he said. “Frankly, the permitted uses (for A-1 zoning) are more restrictive, in my opinion, than what’s allowed in A-2.”
Simon said any issues related to a conditional use permit could be addressed at a later time, with rezoning being the first step.
“We’re not talking about a quarry with this application for a rezone,” he said. “What we’re talking about is a rezone into A-1. That’s not an automatic approval, and it’s not an approval of any means of a quarry anymore than it is any other use under A-1, other than the very limited permitted uses, which are consistent – very consistent, slightly different, but very consistent – with A-2.”
Paul Ambrosius, who lives on South Overland Road, said he objected to a quarry, because it would “spew dirt and dust” near his property.
“Everybody downwind… all of that dirt and dust is going to be blowing right in that direction,” he said. “Then we’ve got to worry about our wells. We’ve got to worry about our property values, mostly.”
Shirley Vanden Elzen, co-owner of the parcels, said rezoning the property would allow more options for its use, after being farmed for more than 50 years.
“We are going to sell a piece of the land, one way or the other…,” she said. “We could then allow a slaughterhouse (to) come in. That wouldn’t be our first choice, but everyone can do what they want on their land, up to the rules and regulations.”
Hobart Village President Rich Heidel said the board had to make a difficult decision with property owners looking to sell their land, a potential buyer wanting to use it and the rights of other nearby property owners.
“In all the interests involved here, I think the interests of the property owners – in this case, for the first time, before a quarry is there – needs to be considered,” he said.
Heidel said efforts to “neutralize” problems with quarries “have never really succeeded” in the village.
“That’s where my concern lies,” he said.
Heidel said contemplated land use of a quarry, for which Hobart already received a conditional use permit application, “is not consistent with the comprehensive plan.”
“The benefits of the rezoning are obvious to the property owner, currently, and to the applicant…,” he said. “I don’t have an answer for the residents here who sit next to this quarry, if they were to ask me, ‘What is our benefit?’ I don’t have an answer for that, and that’s a big part of the problem. It is the problem.”
Solid waste contract
The county sought a new 10-year agreement with a landfill in the Town of Holland expected to be completed and in operation next year to service Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago counties.
To pay for the new landfill, which has an estimated cost of $22 million and a life expectancy of 16-18 years, Brown County Port and Resource Recovery Department Director Dean Haen said there will be an $8-per-ton increase in the tipping fees for municipal customers, not including a cost increase for the consumer price index.
Haen said the per-ton tipping fee is estimated to increase by around $12 over the next five years – from the current $43.84 per ton to $55.82 per ton in 2026 – when including the consumer price index.
The board also approved transferring archeological collections, which were found in Hobart more than 10 years ago where Centennial Centre is now located, from the temporary custody of Old Northwest Research in Two Rivers to the Neville Public Museum’s permanent collection.
Kramer said the village has no place to store or display those stone artifacts from the manufacturing of tools and implements.
“I can’t think of a better home than the Neville Public Museum,” he said.