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Protect the Irish Hills- No gravel pit

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Hi I am representing a group of very concerned residents in the Irish hills area that are opposing gravel pit mining in our beautiful &historic area of Irish Hills Michigan that compromises sever local area townships. This is a non-profit cause for stopping gravel pit mining in our area as determined by pending non-profit to be formed for this very purpose. This will help us greatly protect our community! At the Cambridge Township Planning Meeting, on Oct 26th, SSP Leasing/Cambridge Lake LLC requested a conditional use permit to excavate and mine at the old Brighton Farm, the area south of US 12, next to Killarney Highway (A Natural Beauty Road), between Allen, Meadow and Kelly Lake, directly above Brighton Pond. From what I understood at this meeting, they plan to pull sand and stone from the proposed gravel pit for a minimum of 10 years, and eventually build 12 homes, each on 1 acre lots, around what is left of the gravel pit which would essentially be a man made lake. The presenter from SSP Leasing provided minimal information regarding plans, permits etc, and it appeared that the housing development would come much later, with no timeline. The primary objective would be mining.
The process, if I understand it correctly, is that the company requests a conditional use permit from the Cambridge planning commission. Once they have sufficient information from SSP Leasing, the planning commission has the power to either approve or deny recommendation. If approved, it is only a recommendation, and then sent to the Township for final decision.
After the presentation, each resident had 2 minutes to speak, directed to the board. Of course, everyone was very concerned and we and the board were provided very little concrete information.
Our biggest question, what does this bring to Cambridge Township? How does this better our community? How does a gravel pit fit into the surrounding land use?
Our take away from the Twp Planning Meeting meeting on Oct 26th-Impacts to the community and local residents
1. Noise from sunup to sundown- the revving of diesel engines from gravel trucks, bull dozers, crushers, sorters, and other equipment and the constant annoyance backup beeping . The noise and noxious smells will lead to loss of property enjoyment. When questioned about noise concern, SSP Leasing representative replied there will be “minimal disturbance due to the deep depth of the pit because the sound will essentially travel up”. We find that hard to believe.
2. Traffic Safety- many of us had significant concerns about the heavy gravel haulers coming in and out of the pit onto US-12 slowly, as traffic zips around the corners at 55 mph. How much does a gravel train hauler weigh? 50 tons? We are not sure. What is the actual stopping distance of a heavy gravel train, especially in wet weather? We as residents of the area know all too well the dangers of dead mans curve, the deaths and accidents, how difficult it is to pull a boat trailer out of Allens Lake public access as it is, let alone the limited sight distance in and out of the proposed gravel pit onto US-12, poses a threat to pedestrians, cars, and those riding motorcycles.
3. Ground water disturbance- Mining operations, washing, dust control and digging has the high probability of disturbing an already fragile groundwater source. There is potential impact for water contamination and reduction of nearby lakes, streams as well as residential wells. Residents at the meeting pointed out that the channels that connect Wolf, Allen, Meadow, Kelly and Killarney are already quite shallow. Those of us living in this area rely on groundwater for our wells. Residents asked the board, What happens if our wells go dry or the water table drops in the lakes and the channels no longer allow access?
4. Impact on health-. crystalline silica dust. It has proven links to diseases that lead to death including silicosis, lung cancer, COPD, renal failure, and kidney disease as well as causing auto-immune diseases.
5. Open pit gravel mines depress property values and damaged property values severely affect tax revenues
6. Impact on local eco-systems-Potential damage to wetlands, wildlife and fishery habitats. We pointed out that Killarney Hwy is a Natural Beauty Road. The wetlands provide an amazing habitat for a large variety of migrating birds as well as yearlong resident species, numerous wildlife and fish.
If I understand the process correctly.
1.The applicant requests a special land use permit and must prove there is a need for the materials it intends to mine.
2. If successfully proven, the applicant must next prove the mining operation will not result in very serious consequences.
3. If successfully proven, the applicant must apply for a mining operation license.
The language “Very serious consequences” is the key.
Michigan’s gravel statue provides categories of ‘very serious consequences’ (VSQ) into which all of the above concerns can be grouped including Existing Land Uses, Environmental Issues, Protection of Property Values, Traffic Safety, and Local Health, Safety, & Welfare.


  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 1 yr
  • Ann Arwin
    • $250 
    • 1 yr
  • judith gelske
    • $50 
    • 1 yr
  • Joanne Madigan
    • $200 
    • 1 yr
  • Lisa Bigelow
    • $100 
    • 1 yr

Fundraising team (3)

Thomas Emerson
Tipton, MI
Diane Higgins
Wendy Holmes
Team member

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