County ZBA recommends denying permit to reopen stone quarry outside Polo

Ogle County Board members have final say, likely will decide at June 21 meeting

OREGON – A local company’s request to reopen a stone quarry just outside Polo for limited mining operations failed to garner support from Ogle County Zoning Board of Appeals members.

NITRAM Properties – which is owned and operated by the same people as Martin & Co. Excavating – is seeking a special-use permit for the quarry at 14584 W. Brick Church Road, west of Polo city limits. The 88.75-acre property has been zoned I-1 Industrial by Ogle County since 1965.

“We all understand you guys all have concerns about a quarry moving in next to your house, and we can respect that,” Jared Martin told the two dozen or so objectors just before ZBA members voted. “As homeowners, you’ve got to take care of your property, and you have to look out for yourself. Obviously that’s why you’re there, and that’s what it’s all about. I just hope that you can see the other side of that coin as well.”

Quarries are a necessary part of life in the U.S., said Martin, who is Martin & Co.’s supervisor of equipment and maintenance. He also noted that the roads everyone drove on to get to the meeting came from quarries, and that 60% of the concrete foundation of peoples’ houses is from quarries.

On May 12, members of the Ogle County ZBA unanimously voted to recommend denying the special-use permit after they found the request did not meet three of the six standards needed for approval. The vote differed from the April 21 vote by members of the Ogle County Regional Planning Commission, who voted 6-0-1 to approve the permit.

Both recommendations will be reviewed by the Supervisor of Assessments and Planning and Zoning Committee on June 14 before being sent to the full Ogle County Board for a final decision, likely at the June 21 meeting.

Attorney Theodore Liebovich, representing several nearby property owners who opposed the reopening of the quarry, spoke for them at the May 12 meeting.

“It is a matter of serious concern to the citizens,” Liebovich said. “We know that there are representations that have been made by the petitioners that this is going to be a relatively minor quarry. Those are representations only. Once they have the zoning, they can do what they want to do within the zoning.”

Martin said the company owns three other quarries, the busiest of which they blast rock from a maximum of six times a year. For the West Brick Church Road site, Martin said, “I would be completely amazed if we blasted five times.”

The May 12 meeting originally was scheduled for April 28 but was postponed because the agenda had not been posted on the county’s website. Knowing people were interested in the petitions being presented, the county wanted to be sure the information was readily available in time for the meeting, officials said.