(Chelsea Update would like to thank Rod Anderson for the information in this story.)
Newly elected township supervisors Pam Byrnes (Lyndon) and David Brooks (Sylvan) joined incumbent Chelsea Mayor Melissa Johnson in a wide-ranging discussion during the first post-election meeting of the Chelsea Community Forum.
A number of topics were brought up by attendees, including: the status and future of efforts to bring broadband access to rural areas of western Washtenaw County, as well as issues with sewer access in Sylvan.
Of particular interest were the on-going efforts of the State Legislature to enable sand and gravel mining independently of local legislative input. Senate Bill 431 is the legislation currently under consideration. From the bill:
Senate Bill 431 would amend the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act to do the following:
— Prohibit a local unit of government from preventing, prohibiting, or denying a permit, approval, or other authorization for the mining of natural resources if the natural resources were valuable and very serious consequences would not result from the extraction of the natural resources.
— Provide that a person who sought to extract natural resources by mining could meet the requirements above by submitting to a local unit of government a plan for the proposed extraction that met certain requirements.
— Provide that, if an applicant had made a prima facie case that the requirements were met, the burden of proof would shift to the party challenging or opposing the proposed mining activity.
— Describe certain limitations on a local unit of government’s regulation of a mining operation.
— Specify that a permit or other authorization issued by a local unit of government to extract natural resources by mining would be valid until mining operations, including reclamation, were completed.
The status of SB 431, can be found here: https://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(rpaqj2435kscdl1rge3t0ziw))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=2019-SB-0431.
Forum attendees also discussed format changes to the meeting. To be more responsive to current events in the western Washtenaw area, the group decided to identify one topic at the end of each meeting to be discussed at the following meeting.
In addition, the attendees selected the pending gravel and sand mining legislation discussed above as the first topic for our next meeting, to be held Dec. 12.