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By RICH KREMER
Iron County is delaying action on an iron mining ordinance, after realizing that iron mining isn’t allowed under the county’s zoning regulations.
The Iron County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing last night to get input on a zoning ordinance that would place local restrictions on a proposed iron mine there. Tonight, a special meeting was scheduled to approve the ordinance.
But it turns out that Iron County has more time than they thought. Zoning Administrator Tom Bergman says the county’s zoning code addresses basic land use, but it doesn’t specifically address iron mining.
Bergman: “When an ordinance like ours is silent, it basically prohibits that use. With that said, it illegally prohibits the use. So, it’s not something that we’re allowed to do.
Bergman and the county’s attorney say that buys them time to carefully craft a mine-zoning ordinance that can withstand legal challenge from the company. Bergman says neighboring Ashland County’s zoning code does address iron mining and therefore supervisors wanted to pass an ordinance quickly.
Bergman: “I think that a lot of the other communities are rushing to get something in place because they were concerned about this idea of, ‘When does an applicant have a vested interest in the project, and does that grandfather them into existing regulations?’”
Bergman says Iron County has a first draft of a zoning ordinance permit which would require the mine to provide information about size and location of the mine pit, buildings, storm water management and reclamation. He says they’re also planning on requiring the company to agree to an economic impact analysis by a third party.