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Michigan Campground Owner Battles Mine

October 4, 2007 by   - () Leave a Comment

A Grand Rapids, Mich., campground owner said allowing a mining operation next door will doom his business, but the Plainfield Township Board says the limited-run excavation is inevitable, according to The Grand Rapids Press.
What board members need to work out are the mine’s hours of operation and whether rigs hauling gravel will be limited to right-turn exits from the site onto the highway. They are expected to look at those issues at an Oct. 15 meeting.
Grand Rapids developer Daniel Schimmel plans to mine an estimated 1.3 million cubic yards of gravel from the former Grand Island Golf Ranch north of Grand Rapids. The quarry would be west of Grand Rogue Campgrounds & Paddlesports.
“I think you’ve failed to recognize the significant impact this will have on my campground business,” campground owner Tom Briggs told board members earlier this week. “I’m fighting for the life of Grand Rogue Campgrounds. The pounding, dust and noise would make the area unlivable and unsellable.”
Schimmel wants to mine from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. He said he wouldn’t allow any crushing activity on Saturdays from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the campground’s peak season.
Crushing separates the stone and sand so four asphalt-aggregate pavement products can be made on site, said Schimmel.
If approved, the excavating permit would expire Nov. 30, 2013.
Treasurer Jim Stover said the quarry operation should start at 7:30 a.m. weekdays instead of 7 a.m. and crushing should be banned on Saturdays.
But Schimmel said he wants the earlier weekday start time and to be allowed to mine on Saturdays. He also protested the right-turn restriction.
Schimmel said he is working with the Kent County Road Commission to install a left-turn lane on the highway at his expense.
“The county has agreed to display ‘truck crossing’ signs,” he said. “With a right turn only, you have to come back – and I don’t see the benefit.”
Township Supervisor George Meek said the temporary inconvenience to residents will pay off in the long run.
The township is waiting for word on a $490,000 state grant that would pay 75% of the appraised value for another 62 acres on the golf course that’s in a flood plan. That portion of the site would become a public park.
If the township receives the grant, officials plan to buy that land from Schimmel, who wants to purchase the entire golf course.
After the mining is done, Schimmel said he intends to create a 31-acre fishing lake, build 76 duplex condominiums on the east side of the property, and add a commercial development on 12 acres along the highway.

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