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Policy: Environment & Energy

10-year Michigan gravel mining battle continues

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News,Business,Michigan,Energy and Environment,Mining

KASSON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A decade-long legal fight that has eaten up hundreds of thousands of tax dollars has continued with a judge denying a northern Michigan woman's request to mine gravel on her property.

Circuit Judge Thomas Powers ruled last week that Edith Kyser cannot mine the gravel on the land she owns in Leelanau County's Kasson Township, about 15 miles northwest of Traverse City. The parcel borders the county's 5-square-mile gravel district but isn't part of it.

Kyser lawyer Christopher Bzdok said he and his client "respectfully disagree" with the decision.

"This has been a very long road and after a weeklong trial in 2006 the court found that mining gravel on her property would not hurt anybody," Bzdok said. "Yet there seems to be no limit to the amount of money, and resources, and time the township is willing to commit to try to prevent her from doing that."

Kasson Township records show that the community has spent about $245,000 on the case, the Traverse City Record-Eagle (http://bit.ly/1gjtiyD ) reported.

The fight started in 2004 when Kyser asked to have her property rezoned but was denied. In 2010, the Michigan Supreme Court upheld the township's power to enforce the zoning law, but the state Legislature in 2011 approved a measure letting people challenge such zoning ordinances.

Township lawyer Thomas Grier said that gravel supplies in the area have increased over the last six years because of less demand, as shown by lower tonnages of gravel that were withdrawn from the district than previously anticipated. That created a legal basis for the denial of the new mining request, he said.

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Information from: Traverse City Record-Eagle, http://www.record-eagle.com

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