Ordinance Regulating Extractive Industries on March 10 Agenda
The following letter appeared in local newspapers and is shared with us here by the author Ruth Platner
Stone crushing, sand and gravel removal, and other issues related to extractive industries have been at the forefront of local news in recent months. Extractive industries have been a prohibited use in Charlestown for many years. Despite the prohibition there are about half a dozen active graveling operations in Charlestown that may predate the prohibition.
The Charlestown Planning Commission worked for several months this fall to update our town’s extractive industry regulations. A draft of those regulations has been sent to the Town Council for a public hearing that starts on Monday, March 10.
New extractive industries will remain a prohibited use under the revised regulations. The proposed regulations would apply to any extraction operation currently operating legally in Charlestown. The purpose of these revised regulations is to protect the environment and the public during operation, and to ensure the restoration of graveled sites when extraction operations are completed.
The ordinance outlines a procedure to obtain an extraction license from the town. The procedure includes the preparation of a site plan showing current and proposed mining operations, environmental features such as wetlands, storm water management, areas designated for storage of topsoil and other information typically requested when land is disturbed or developed.
The proposed ordinance also includes language on buffers, hours of operation, dust control, drainage, and prevention of erosion. Restoration of the site is required and there is a method of bonding to ensure this restoration.
Ordinances best serve the community when there is broad public support and participation. Anyone with an interest in gravel operations should attend this hearing, whether a business owner, neighbor to a facility, or any concerned member of the community. Modest changes to the proposed regulations can be made at the hearing. More significant changes would require that the ordinance be re-advertised.
The proposed ordinance is available from the Town’s website at http://www.charlestownri.org/ Look for it on the right sidebar under Ordinance #364 amending Chapter 155 – Nuisances, Extraction
*The writer is Chair of the Charlestown Planning Commission