No action taken on permit for gravel pit blasting in Negaunee Township


The Negaunee Township Planning Commission did not make a recommendation on granting a permit after a two hour hearing Tuesday evening.

Board members said they're waiting on UPPCO to comment on a study being done about how blasting would affect the McClure Dam.

The planning commission is expected to take up the issue again at their next meeting in July.


The Negaunee Township Planning Commission is holding a public forum Tuesday night, hearing concerns about potential blasting at the County Road 510 gravel pit.

Back in April, Kona Ridge Mining requested a permit from the township, seeking an expansion to their operations. They currently extract and crush gravel. They would like to begin blasting and extracting in an adjacent parcel they own. This has many township residents worried.

"What we anticipate is a similar turnout, if not more, and similar concerns and comments," said Nick Leach, Negaunee Township manager.

The vote on the permit was scheduled for last month, but the meeting didn't have quorum. A major concern brought up was damage to homes that the vibrations from blasting could cause.

"We're worried about the McClure Dam cracking or the post tensioning devices being loosened," said township supervisor Gary Wommer.

The biggest concern is the noise the blasting would cause, not just to residents, but tourists, and even property values.

"This will primarily be done right during the middle of the summer when it's our biggest time of the year for everybody to enjoy everything,” said Wommer. “We worry about the change in value to the property around there."

Last meeting, representatives from Kona Ridge pointed out that property values have not dropped in the area over the past five years. They also claimed they will be doing seismographs to address safety concerns, and will only be blasting four to six times a year.

"I think that we need a period of time to prove that it will work or not work,” said Wommer. “We cannot go forward and give a permit that's forever."

They don't have to; a conditional permit can be awarded with conditions for safety and residential well-being.

"So there are standards that can be put in place or requirements that the township can implement and make sure that the application adheres to all of those," said Leach.

If the permit passes, it will then go to the township board for final approval.

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