It’s a waiting game at this point.

It’s a waiting game at this point.

The Sugar Creek Planning & Zoning Commission voted to continue any discussion and a final vote on a special use permit for the manufacturing of limestone components and subsurface mining until July 15, allowing time for commission members to review the city staff’s recommendation.

Concerned neighbors originally presented public testimony at the June 10 meeting, including their concerns about dust and noise, as well as Lafarge attempting to use water to suppress the dust. The commission had voted to continue the public hearing to Thursday night’s meeting.  

As the special use permit’s applicant, the Omaha, Neb.-based Woodmen of the World own the 37-acre site at the northeast corner of Missouri 291 and Kentucky Road. The land is leased to Lafarge for its use, and the special use permit application includes the use of a rock crusher.  

Keith Stoker, Lafarge plant manager, said the Mine Safety and Health Administration monitors the site’s dust and noise levels every six months and ensures that the employees’ dust inhalation levels are within industry health standards.

“There’s never been an overage on the dust on any of the employees in the history of the mine that I’m aware of – at least since I’ve been there,” said Stoker, who has worked at the site since April 2008.

Commission chairwoman Susan Davis said she is troubled that the application itself doesn’t contain the word “Lafarge” on it, though Paul Loving, Sugar Creek building official, repeatedly references Lafarge in his staff report.  

“It concerns me about the level of liability and responsibility,” Susan Davis said.

Lafarge shuts down its crushing operations on “very windy days,” according to Stoker. Davis questioned how Lafarge officials determine what constitutes a very windy day.

“It’s a visual. When my plant has all the water on it that I’ve got and my water trucks won’t keep up, but I still see dust, I shut it down,” Stoker said.

Loving’s staff report includes 17 recommendations that Lafarge would be required to comply with and of which the planning commission members should consider in their vote of recommendation to the Sugar Creek Board of Aldermen.

“Dust from the subject application property, by observation, appears to be reasonably managed through the watering of haul roads and use of a wheel wash system,” Loving wrote in his staff report.

Several commission members expressed concern regarding the quality of the dust sweeper, which dumps any dust picked up back on site.

“If that sweeper were running in our homes, we wouldn’t be very happy, would we?” Susan Davis said.

“The sweeping is clearly not adequate.”  

Several commission members took tours of the site since the June 10 meeting. Commission member Bill Davis said following his tour of the 37-acre site, he was impressed with Lafarge’s operation.

“I didn’t notice any dust from any place – trees, mailboxes,” Bill Davis said. “I only saw one dirty car, and that could’ve been from the driveway.”

Commission member Jim Cooper described the application as “adding insult to injury to a problem that already exists.”

The next Planning & Zoning Commission meeting will take place at 7 p.m. July 15 at Sugar Creek City Hall, 103 S. Sterling Ave.