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County looks at gravel pit ordinance

Because of the proliferation of gravel pits in the Kabekona corners area and constant citizen complaints, Hubbard County will look into regulating the hours of operation of such industries. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

John Casson is sick of living near a gravel pit operating 24/7 throughout the construction season.

So Hubbard County commissioners agreed Wednesday to look into the issue and develop some hours of operation and noise levels that would be acceptable to county residents.

Casson, of Laporte, said he's lost four months of sleep. He said he's contacted the owners of the pit with no satisfaction. The pit is supplying aggregate to the U.S. Highway 71 project in Bemidji, he said.

"It's completely unbearable," he said. "I can't even hear my TV."

His neighbors have also complained and called the company operating the pit, he added.

The townships they're located in regulate some gravel pits.

But commissioners and township officers get chronic complaints about gravel pits spreading weeds, dust and noise.

Casson has reason to complain. In the Kabekona corner area, five gravel pits are in operation this summer, he said.

And when the operators "are those big outfits they get those big machines running and don't want to shut them down," commissioner Cal Johannsen said.

Casson maintains, "as soon as the noise leaves their property it becomes a public issue, a nuisance."

"Some townships have already addressed it but we may need a countywide ordinance," commissioner Dick Devine said.

Board chair Lyle Robinson wondered if it's preferable to let the pit operators run long hours during the construction season rather than to have them running longer in the year.

"What's the least amount of hassle?" he asked Casson.

Sleep during the summertime, Casson replied.

The county will look at other county ordinances and talk to townships about the best way to regulate those operations.