(La Porte County, IN) - Two alleged sand mining operations in La Porte County are coming under a microscope.
Last night, the La Porte County Commissioners voted to investigate the operating permits where sand is being dug off Schultz Road just north of La Porte and on 1000 North in the northeast part of the county.
People living in those neighborhoods allege the mining of sand is not allowed in residential areas. However, the operators claim they’re legally not sand mines.
Randy Veatch, a resident in the Schultz Road area, has been demanding action for several years due to disruption in his neighborhood and applauded the decision to investigate.
“I’d really love for the sand to stop selling and the residential neighborhood I bought a home in return to just that. Excavating sand from the surface is sand mining. Sand mining is not allowed in a residential neighborhood,” Veatch said.
Attorney Andrew Voeltz, who represents both landowners, said the operations are not sand mines under the law because there’s no washing or screening of the materials. Instead, Voeltz said the sand goes directly into trucks for hauling, and legally that’s not mining.
“We’re talking about industrialized operations. There’s not that secondary process. This is infuriating to me that this continues to be brought up on an annual basis when somebody is up for election,” Voeltz said.
Another attorney, Linda Jacobs, who lives near the operation on 1000 North, strongly disagreed with his interpretation of the law.
“You cannot just do whatever you want to do with your property just because you own it and because you build a fence around it. Don’t kid a kidder. I’m a lawyer, too, counsel Voeltz and you are incorrect,” Jacobs said.
The commissioners allowed the operations to continue during the investigation of the operating permits. However, the commissioners could shut down the operations if violations are found by revoking the permits.