Letter: Lack of mine ordinance enforcement raises questions in Houston County
At the July 23 Houston County Planning Commission meeting, a motion was made and seconded to require the county board mandate enforcement of county mining ordinances by the planning and zoning department.
More than 90 percent of Houston County's mines are nonconforming, which means unpermitted, and do not have the required reclamation plans. About 75 percent are not active and past due to be reclaimed. These mines should be required to get conditional-use permits so they can be properly regulated and brought into compliance. The county's own consulting land-use attorney recommended this two years ago.
In a roll call vote, Houston County Planning Commission Chairman Dan Griffin and members Glen Kruse, Larry Hafner and Terry Rosendahl voted against recommending the county board enforce the current mineral extraction ordinance. Commission members Rich Schild and Ed Hammell voted for the recommendation, while Dana Kjome abstained.
Zoning Administrator Bob Scanlan stated County Attorney Sam Jandt, on two occasions, has actually stopped notification of out-of-compliance mines regarding the need to come into compliance.
What does it mean when planning commission members vote against enforcing county law? Why is the county attorney preventing mines being brought into compliance with county law? Why has the board of commissioners not insisted on enforcement all along? Is it time to end cronyism in Houston County government?
Bryan Van Gorp