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Meyer Material might look for extra mining time in Cary

Published: Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 4:23 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 11:50 p.m. CDT

CARY – With Meyer Material about 18 months behind its originally planned mining schedule along Route 31, the village and company officials are looking at potential options for the ongoing project.

Under the current deal, Meyer has to be completed with mining operations on the 102-acre property by June 2016 and reclamation and restoration work by June 2018. For every month Meyer mines past June 2016, or does not have restoration complete past June 2018, the company will have to pay the village a $100,000 fine.

Because Meyer is behind schedule after the downturn in the economy, it might lead to a smaller than originally presented lake, which was planned in 2008 when the project was approved.

According to village documents, however, Meyer has indicated the overall project could be completed in accordance of the original 2008 plans if it is allowed to continue mining operations until June 2018, which would be concurrent with the restoration period.

"Meyer Material believes that both mining and reclamation can be completed by June 1, 2018, which is when the property is to be conveyed to the village of Cary," according to a memo to Village Board members.

The current status leaves Meyer with three options, according to village documents.

Meyer could request for an amendment to its conditional-use permit for additional time for mining operations. This would require a hearing with the Board of Zoning, Planning and Appeals, and approval by the Village Board.

The company can proceed with mining past June 2016 and pay monthly $100,000 fines until mining operations cease.

Or Meyer Material could continue at its current pace and cease mining operations by June 2016. With operations behind schedule, the entire project will not have been mined and likely leave a smaller lake than originally presented in 2008.

Meyer is scheduled to present its annual status report to the Village Board on Tuesday. Staff is looking for direction on which timeline the board would prefer, according to village documents.

In 2011, Meyer had asked to for a four-year extension of mining operations. The Board of Zoning, Planning and Appeals recommended denial of the extension, and Meyer eventually withdrew its request before consideration by the Village Board in 2012.

This year, Meyer anticipates stripping 12 to 14 acres as the gravel deposit is much thinner and erratic as the company moves north on the property, according to a letter to the village from Randi T. Wille, manager of Environmental and Land Services.

"The result is more overburden to move in order to reach the deposit," Wille wrote. "The increased level of overburden results in slower overall production as it takes longer to open up an area for mineral extraction. We have supplemented our stripping crew and our below-water extraction crew in an effort to keep pace with production goals."

Last year, the company removed about 1.5 million tons of raw material and expects to do the same this year, Wille wrote.

"We remain behind schedule based on calculated reserve estimates but see improvements in shipments in 2014 and beyond," Wille wrote. "Unfortunately, the prolonged downturn in the construction economy and other unforeseen challenges make it impossible to reach the proposed designed for the project by the he original deadline."

According to materials from Meyer, housing starts have declined, and the company is not forecasting a large upswing in activity, even though there has been an increase.

Road construction work in the state also remains weak, Wille wrote.

"The severity and length of the downturn kept us from reaching our promised production goals," Wille wrote.

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