Last week the Plymouth Plan Commission approved sending a letter to Senator Mike Bohacek and Representative Jack Jordan over the regulations of mining operations in residential areas.

The letter requests the legislators introduce a bill next session to amend the Indiana Code to provide more local control of mining regulations in residential areas. 

The request comes following the recent request of IMI to open a new mining operation at the southwest corner of 11th and King Roads.  The proposed gravel pit came before the Plymouth Board of Zoning Appeals because it is within the extra-territorial zoning jurisdiction or two-mile zone. 

IMI was seeking a special use to allow the gravel pit on land zoned as rural residential.  The letter to local legislators say many neighbors voiced their objections citing health concerns such as the inhalations of dust and other contaminants, the unsightly appearance and potential for diminished property values.

While the Plymouth Board of Zoning Appeals determined the gravel pit wasn’t an appropriate operation next to a residential development, they learned that Indiana Code does not give them the authority to fully prohibit mining operations except for an area designate as “urban.”   In this case the homes along 11th Road are urban but the residences on King Road south of 11th Road are not so mining operations could take place on the southern portion of the lot. 

The letter to legislators says, “Mining and the extraction and harvesting of other natural resources is very important to our continued economic growth. Also, important though is the preservation and expansion of desirable housing options.  We think local decision makers are best positioned to balance these interests.”

Plymouth BZA members approved having board president Doug Feece sign the letter and send it to Senator Bohacek and Representative Jordan.