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Milestone Materials has withdrawn an application to La Crescent Township to mine a 39-acre site located two miles west of the city on the north side of County Highway 25.

However, the company is now expected to file the application with Houston County. The moves comes after the recent vote by the township board to cede control over zoning and planning to the county.

Milestone Materials is a division of Onalaska-based Mathy Construction and Tony Tomashek, Mathy Construction Vice President, said the company thought it would be “too murky” to leave the application with the township during the transitional period.

“We just decided to withdraw the application and restart it with the county,” he said.

The application is at the site of the former Scheil Quarry and Milestone had already accepted an extension to the 60 day period for the township to decide on the conditional use permit for the site.

Part of the reason the township decided to dissolve its zoning department and planning commission was that it lacked the expertise to deal with applications like the one from Milestone.

Tomashek said Milestone would “regroup” and wait to see how the transition to county zoning plays out. He didn’t give a timeline for the application process but said he doesn’t see any reason for any substantial change in the company’s application for the site.

Milestone had originally applied to excavate 51 acres of the 94-acre property but scaled that back to 39 acres. The project has provoked protests from some local residents who are concerned about its environmental impact.

Bob Schuldt, the new chairman of the La Crescent Township Board, said the board had refunded Milestone the fee it paid to file for the conditional use permit. He supported the decision to cede zoning authority to the county, noting that La Crescent was the only township in Houston County and one of only a small number in all of Minnesota that had its own zoning department.

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