Peosta neighbors voice concerns over quarry rezoning request

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 11:03 PM CDT
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PEOSTA, Iowa (KCRG) - People living in a Dubuque County neighborhood are upset over a rezoning request at a quarry property.

At a city council meeting Tuesday night, neighbors in the Cox Springs Road area in Peosta expressed they are concerned for the impact blasting and heavy truck traffic at a nearby quarry could have on their homes and the environment.

Peg Harbaugh, who lives less than 200 feet from the quarry, said the issue at the land owned by Spiegel Family Realty has been ongoing for years.

Last year, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received a complaint that that land was being used as a quarry without the proper licensing. After that complaint, the company applied for and received the appropriate licensing.

Peosta city council members decided to look into the issue when they heard of the complaint and found out the area is currently zoned as agricultural. Quarry activities are prohibited in these zones, so now, Spiegel is requesting the city rezones it as a heavy industrial zone.

Harbaugh said she has already started seeing damages to her house.

“When the rock mining is taking place, we can no longer open our windows because of the extreme amount of dust,” she explained at the meeting. “One time last summer I was mowing our front yard, the dust the mower kicked up was so thick I literally could not see, it was like a white-out.”

Harbaugh was not the only one who spoke out against the rezoning. Wyatt Ungs stood up to ask questions he said would be necessary to have answers to before council members made a decision.

“What engineer signed off on okaying heavy hauling on that road? Did anyone?”, he asked. “Did anyone look into the conflicts with the DNR with the water ways? Did anyone look into the rail road? There a lot of questions here and if you are just going to go ahead and rezone this without answering to any of them, you are going to have a lot more issues than just my house’s foundation.”

Harbaugh echoed those feelings.

“I do not understand why poor planning has to lead to quick decisions without any studies done to rectify any problems this could create,” she mentioned.

Stephan Alt, an attorney representing A.J. Spiegel, who owns the company, also took the podium at the meeting. He said it was disheartening that there was “such little faith given to Mr. Spiegel.”

“He has developed a vast majority of this town, his legacy is tied with the success of this town,” he added. “I think his record shows that he has a great reputation with his development projects. There should not be any concern that he is trying to pull a fast one here.”

He also addressed the neighbors’ claims of the constant blasting by saying there have only been 25 blasts since 2017, all of them highly regulated.

“So the idea that there has been this ongoing nuisance and despair to all of the citizens, all of the surrounding properties is a little bit unjustified,” he explained. “25 over a six year period is rather low.”

Alt did reassure people that there would be no more blasting until the city council made a decision on whether to rezone the property or not.

Peosta city council members decided to postpone any decision-making until a further date.

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