Two weeks after sand mining proposals for hundreds of rural acres in Baker County were withdrawn to allow more time for regulatory agencies to study the plans, a county commissioner has hatched a plan to stop them permanently.
Commissioner Mark Hartley had planned to introduce an ordinance to prohibit sand mining in agricultural areas at the end of the commission meeting on the evening of September 4. But he decided at the last minute to postpone the matter, saying he needed more time to review the draft ordinance before moving forward with his idea.
“I want to read it over to make sure it’s exactly what we want to do,” he said after the meeting was adjourned shortly before 6 pm.
The county’s present zoning code allows mining operations on lands with agricultural zoning designations by special exception. Mr. Hartley’s proposal, if adopted at a later date, would restrict sand mining to industrial zones only.
The proposed ordinance states that continuing to permit sand mining on agricultural lands, which make up more than half of the county’s total acreage excluding national forest land, is not in compliance with the county’s comprehensive, long-range planning mission.