SUBSCRIBE NOW

Enjoy all your local news and sports for less than 5¢ per day.

Subscribe Now

A public hearing on a proposed new mining ordinance for the city of Granite Shoals is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, in Council Chambers at City Hall, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road. The hearing will be part of the City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday.

“This public hearing is to help residents understand (the ordinance),” City Manager Jeff Looney said. 

The biggest change from old to new is the addition of regulations that did not exist before, namely for dust control, fencing, and setbacks, especially as to how these affect private property and Highland Lakes Elementary School. 

“The old ordinance didn’t address noise, fencing, or dust control specifically enough with the mining groups,” Looney said. “It specifies all that in the new ordinance.” 

The new ordinance calls for fences to be constructed around mining operations with a minimum of three strands of wire and with posted warning signs.

Regarding dust control, operators must construct, maintain, and operate all equipment in ways that will lessen on-site and off-site dust. 

Access roads are to be constructed and maintained to minimize dirt and other materials on public roads. Noise-making equipment and other sources are to follow federal and state guidelines for noise levels.

“This was all done in conjunction with the mining groups,” Looney said. “They helped write this part. It was a cooperative effort.”

After the council approved Mining Ordinance 809-A in March 2021, City Attorney Joshua Katz said the council directed him and Looney to meet with the mineral rights representatives in July 2021. A new mining ordinance was presented to the council Jan. 25 of this year. 

The city manager emphasized the best part of the ordinance is that everyone came together to create a new ordinance that is beneficial to all. He  hopes to have multiple people speak at the public hearing Feb. 8. 

“We want everybody to understand it,” Looney said. “It’s vital we continue to be as transparent as we can be with the miners and developers and property owners who helped craft the ordinance. We’ve had a collective effort. It’s been very cooperative and very professional. You couldn’t ask people to work closer than that.”

Some details are still on the table, such as the definition of “legacy city limits.” 

“In the new ordinance, it’s still being negotiated what that will be,” Looney said. “The mining groups wanted legacy city limits. It’s a change they feel more comfortable with and will allow them to obtain their long-term goals.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com