Writ of mandamus filed against Houston County
Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:15 AM
A June 6 hearing to review a writ of mandamus filed against Houston County was postponed late last week.
Donna Buckbee, Susan van Gorp, Chad Oness, Steve Hartwick, Bruce Kuehmichel, Lorraine Culver and Jackie Baker were named as petitioners. The document cites a contentious conditional use permit (CUP) application as the reason for the lawsuit.
If granted, mandamus would compel Houston County to take or refrain from taking some specific actions.
Those include telling mine owner Tracy Erickson that the CUP issued to a previous owner on Jan. 8, 2008, has expired (and therefore cannot be renewed).
Any current application for renewal would be returned to Erickson. The county would then be required to treat the CUP, which the mine owner is seeking, as a new agreement. The mandamus document further states that Erickson would need to apply for a new CUP, "which is subject to and requires compliance with current state law."
Finally, the writ states that a county moratorium on new frac sand mining permits would also apply to this application, even though Erickson recently told the Houston County Planning Commission that his CUP is now for commercial, not industrial sand mining purposes.
The moratorium is in effect until March 5, 2015, or until the county completes drafting a new industrial sand mining ordinance. Houston County commissioners also reserved the right to extend the moratorium beyond that date if allowed under state law.
A new date for the mandamus hearing had not been released as this issue went to press.