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County Commission nixes proposed sand and gravel mining operation

The proposed site for a sand and gravel mining operation, located in the northeast quarter of Section 16 in Hofflund Township (see arrow), was denied by the Williams County Commission on Tuesday morning.

Posted on June 5, 2024

A proposed sand and gravel mining operation in Hofflund Township has been nixed after the Williams County Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously to deny a use permit for the site.

The proposed site is land owned by the state of North Dakota and is located off 52nd Street Northwest near 108th Avenue Northwest in the southeastern part of the county. The land consists of around 159 acres and lies just north of Little Egypt County Park and Campground and near The Links of North Dakota golf course.

Two community members voiced their concerns over the project at Tuesday’s meeting. One of them, Ken Schmidt, has a farmstead a quarter mile west of the proposed site.

“I think the county paved that road toward the golf course and to Little Egypt … for specific use,” Schmidt said, adding that putting gravel trucks on the road might pose a problem for road conditions. “I object to the mining of the sand and gravel. And I called the state before they issued that permit and I said, ‘Don’t you have enough money coming in that you (don’t) have to mine right next to a county park?’ And, of course, they didn’t answer. Well, what they did say (was) our duty is to make the most money for the state that we can from trust lands. (They) don’t have enough money evidently from that.”

Tom Powers, who was present on behalf of The Links of North Dakota, said his first concern was that no one who applied for the request even showed up at the Williams County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on May 16, which voted 7-0 to deny the permit.

Powers said they fought “tooth and nail” to get the road chip sealed and doesn’t believe the road will hold up to numerous gravel trucks driving through.

“I don’t think that road is going to stand up to truckloads of gravel,” Powers said. “The county is now putting significant money into Little Egypt Park for the community, and I would hate to see that road torn up when we’re just spending money at the park for recreation … they’re going to tear up a piece of native prairie next to a game management area and take the money to Bismarck, and we know it’s not going to come back here.”

When asked if there was a specific reason the Williams County Planning and Zoning Commission voted to deny the permit, Michelle Haugen, staff planner with Williams County, said there was plenty of public opposition at that May 16 meeting.

“There was a lot of opposition from (the) general public that were here and spoke,” Haugen said. “Also, I will add, some of it is right near where (The Links of North Dakota golf course) is, as well as Little Egypt is right to the southwest as well, so that played a part, I believe.”

The company requesting approval for the project was JMAC Resources, and one of their representatives, John Isom, was present for Tuesday’s meeting. Isom told commissioners their plan was to use 52nd Street Northwest as an access point, along with 109th Avenue Northwest.

Isom was unable to say how long the project would take or how many tons of sand and gravel they planned to mine. According to a memo provided to commissioners, he was also unable to say what kind of traffic impact the site would have.

After a brief back-and-forth with Isom, the commissioners voted unanimously to back the Williams County Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation that the conditional use permit be denied.

Commissioners Beau Anderson, Steve Kemp, Cory Hanson, and Barry Ramberg were present for the vote. Commissioner David Montgomery was absent.


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