24/7 mining may be allowed in Kane County

Mining operations in Kane County, particularly along Route 47, may extend much later into the night than is currently allowed under a proposal that's already received an early vote of confidence.

The plan would change the county code that restricts mining operations to the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. If the change were approved, mining operations could apply for permission to operate around the clock.

While the amendment would apply to all the mining operations in the county, the LaFarge gravel and sand mining operation in the southern part of the county, along Route 47, is pushing for the change. If the plan moves forward, it may revive tensions with neighbors that the board quelled back in 2019.

At that time, LaFarge wanted to expand its operations onto a property zoned for farming. Residents in the nearby Windenoak subdivision opposed the expansion because they already felt annoyed by the noise created by second shift operations at the site that were happening up until midnight and outside what was allowed under the county permit the business had.

In seeking the expansion, LaFarge agreed to stop violating its permit and cease second-shift operations.

Now, with the pending change to the county code, LaFarge would have the ability to apply to revive that second shift. Again, Windenoak residents opposed the plan on the basis of excessive noise. Hearing that, the county's zoning board of appeals voted unanimously against the code change.

But the county zoning board is only an advisory body. The county board has the final say on the code change. Members of the county board's development committee rejected the zoning board's recommendation and voted in favor of the code change this week. Committee member Mike Linder was the lone "no" vote.

The mining facility sits in county board member Dale Berman's district. Berman said he toured the operation and was told LaFarge wants to extend its business hours to allow for the pulling of sand out of water and dumping it onto a pile. There would be no extended truck traffic, Berman said.

"It's not an intrusive noise," Berman said. "It was really very quiet. The owner did a fantastic job of monitoring the noise level. Sand and gravel are very important to our economy, especially for the roads and all the construction that's going on. I do support the change."

The full county board will vote on the change next month.

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