The Dubuque County Board of Supervisors approved a zoning request for a local mulching business to store materials, though several individuals expressed their displeasure with the move.
Supervisors unanimously voted this week to approve a request to rezone 10 acres near 8205 Forestry Way from agricultural land to industrial land. Dubuque Hardwoods will be purchasing the land from River City Stone Co. to store lumber.
Supervisors also voted, 2-1, not to place any restrictions on how the business can use the land. Supervisor Ann McDonough was the dissenting vote.
“My preferred method would be having something to restrict this to storing wood products and where they could do some processing,” she said. “... It’s near the Mines of Spain, and I would prefer some control over it.”
Other meeting attendees also voiced concerns about what work would occur on the rezoned land.
Catherine Caitlin, who sits on the Dubuque County Zoning Commission, expressed her concerns. Commission meeting minutes from Sept. 21 show that members approved the rezoning, 5-2, with Caitlin and Sam Boyes voting against it.
Caitlin said at the supervisors’ meeting that having two people vote against a measure is atypical for the commission. Her concerns included impacts to the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area and noise from business operations.
“This backs up to the Mines of Spain,” she said. “The Mines of Spain is a beautiful area. And on top of the noise, 10 acres seems like a lot.”
Dubuque Hardwoods owner Dave Miller said he didn’t see how the planned expansion would impact the Mines of Spain, as the business already has other storage property along the recreation area.
He said neighbors of the new property expressed concerns about the expansion at first, but they later decided they were fine with the move after their worries were put at ease.
Though some attendees voiced concerns at the meeting about the impacts of a sawmill operating on the property, Miller stressed that the land would just be used for storage.
“I think they were just worried about a sawmill sitting up there,” Miller said. “That 100% would never happen. We need storage, and we need storage close. It adjoins our existing property, so it’s a perfect opportunity to do that.”
After hearing about ways the business addressed concerns, Supervisors Harley Pothoff and Jay Wickham voted to approve the rezoning without any restrictions on how Dubuque Hardwoods can use the land.
“We need wood for houses, and we need houses in Dubuque County, and they need space to do that,” Wickham said.