By Mallory Ragon
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) has issued a permit to the Family Ranch, LLC, for their rock reclamation project at the northwest corner of Interstate 470 and Pryor Road. There were four votes in favor and no votes against. The decision was in line with the March recommendation for approval from Kevin Mohammadi of the commission.
The permit application was submitted in November of last year. After facing significant opposition from nearby residents, the Family Ranch held a public meeting in early February. The applicant announced a process change to avoid blasting, one of the biggest concerns discussed. They also answered questions from the public. Many were not satisfied with the forum and petitioned the commission for a formal public hearing.
Because the Family Ranch will be reclaiming rock from only part of the mine—they do not own all of the land surrounding the area—the adjacent landowners are worried that disrupting the land will cause damage to their land, property, safety or livelihood.
At the MDNR session on May 1, several of those asked the commission to deny the permit. Charles Spencer, a geologist retained by Scott Blankenship, a resident and business owner near the mine, outlined his observations. He believes that further geotechnical study is needed before proceeding.
Rod and Kathy Gravitt, Scott Blankenship, Melody Gillette, James Tosser, and Bob Hartzler also voiced their concerns for their health and livelihood, and read letters from those who were unable to be present at the session.
The permit will be active May 2, 2014, to January 15, 2024.
The commission voted unanimously to deny the petitioners’ request for a hearing, stating that the petitioners had not demonstrated standing as defined by law.