By Kamen Kessler
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter
DEWITT — A recent 8-0 vote at the DeWitt Charter Township Board of Trustees Meeting gave the ET MacKenzie Company renewal for their five-year special use permit grant.
The ET MacKenzie Company had a renewal of their special use permit up for debate at the Oct. 26 meeting. The renewal, which is required to be approved every year of the five-year grant, was in the second year, according to Ron Clark, an ET MacKenzie project manager.
The grant is for use of the Clark Road Pit located between Old U.S. Route 27 and Wood Road, where the company uses heavy construction equipment to extract sand and gravel, mostly used for roads in the Midwest area, according to Clark.
Lois Baumer, a DeWitt resident, was at the meeting and said, “My screen porch is unusable, and has been for a number of years now because of the heavy dust that is produced by the company at the site.”
Baumer said, “I live on Boichot Road near the site, and I understand that there will be loud noises and debris, but I am really just upset I have to thoroughly clean my porch every time I want to use it.”
DeWitt Charter Township Manager Rod Taylor said, “Unfortunately there is not a lot we can do about the issue at this time. It would have been better for us to be contacted in advance about the issue to see if we could look into it more before the vote at the meeting took place.”
DeWitt Township Supervisor Rick Galardi heard the claims, but when a vote was motioned, the renewal was approved. “We want to be open and honest with our residents and to tell them the truth, but right now we do not have the ability for the denial of this grant.”
Galardi said, “It is tough business, messy, loud, and they have the backing of the courts.”
They follow all the guidelines of the Michigan Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, so even if the city did not want to renew the grant, state legislature would not support that motion, according to Galardi.
Baumer asked the board if there was anything that could be done about what she referred to as “an excessive amount of dust.”
Taylor asked Clark if all procedures were being followed. According to Clark they do have a process of wetting the mining operation to keep the dust down, and reports have confirmed that they have been up to par in performing it.
The ET MacKenzie company does have a monthly report based on complaints, and that they have done a good job to keep it in a good state for most residents, according to Galardi.
“They just want to do the job at hand and want as little trouble as possible, so overall I feel they have cooperated in doing so.”
Taylor said, “We recommend that first you take your complaints to the ET Mackenzie company first, and if there is not a solution found there, then contact city officials as soon as possible to help iron out a solution.”
Clark informed the board of the tentative timetable on which they expect to be done.
“This is for the renewal of the second year of our second five-year grant, but the outlook now is that we will in all likeliness need an additional few years on the end of this one,” Clark said.
Galardi said, “A lot of the issues with the excavating have come from the fact that before they had their grant, the site was dormant for a number of years so it is now heavily wooded.”
Galardi said, “The difficult thing about this process is that the job is for a resource and you need to go where that is. It is not something you can move to a different location to appease citizens. The only thing we are really keen on is making sure we are open and honest about the situation to keep our residents as happy as possible.”