Frac Sand Committee disbanded
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 5:46 AM
When the Houston County Board held a special meeting on April 19, they had just one item on their agenda - the Houston County Frac Sand Study Committee.
"I think the Frac Sand Study Committee has done its job, and it's time for commissioners to take a little more control," commissioner Dana Kjome said.
"It was originally intended to (just) be a study committee. I'd like the board to have more say in what happens next."
Commissioner Judy Storlie agreed, "I think it's time to move on to ordinance writing by our staff - that's their job, what they're paid for.
"If people still have input, I think it's really important that they contact their commissioners."
"I think that the Frac Sand Study Group should be commended for the great job that they have done," Storlie continued, "but now it's time to move on. We have a deadline to meet. I don't want to see this ordinance not completely readied and gone through the public hearings before the moratorium goes out."
Commissioner Teresa Walter suggested that two members of the board should begin working with staff to develop the new ordinances that will control mining.
Walter echoed others, stating, "We have to move forward."
Storlie asked that the still-evolving ordinances (one for commercial and another for industrial mines) be added to the county board's weekly agenda.
"We want to know where it's headed and that it's on schedule," she said, "so that we know it's going forward."
"I think there are still a lot of things that need to be addressed," Chairman Justin Zmyewski said. "But you're right. We need to have weekly meetings with the commissioners."
Environmental Services Director Rick Frank asked that the committee be allowed to meet, noting that many of those scheduled to show up within the hour had taken time off work to come.
Commissioners agreed, but also drew a line in the sand.
"The last (study committee) meeting was such a standstill. We should allow them to meet today, but this should be the final one," Storlie said.
Members agreed to send the new rules to the Planning Commission for input. That group is expected to eventually hold a public hearing on new draft ordinances.
Following that, the Planning Commission can tweak the documents and send them to the county board for approval.
Another public hearing (this time hosted by the county board) would then be expected before the finished ordinances are finally voted on by that body.
"If the board gives a direction, it needs to be followed," Zmyewski cautioned, "and that includes the Planning Commission, too."
"I'd like to make a motion that after today the official Frac Sand Study group would disband, and we move to the next level," Storlie said.
"We will still take input from people, and the process needs to start going forward."
The vote to approve was unanimous. Only one commissioner (Steve Schuldt) was not present.