Stone, Sand and Gravel REVIEW - March/April 2018 - 49
What works best when you are seeking permits to either develop or expand
a quarry, asphalt plant, cement plant
or any other potentially controversial
development is transparency. Making
sure you have all your homework done
and are ready to make a good, positive
presentation to the decision makers
and the general public is critical.
We find that companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars testing
the soil, conducting traffic studies
and studying wetlands and stormwater runoff. But the politics and community relations that come with an
application are - most of the time -
relegated to the back burner until the
house is on fire, and at that point it
could be too late to salvage permits or
an entire development.
The days of hiring the local "fixer," a
sympathetic champion of an operation
who is not actually part of the operation, to ease an operation through
the permitting process are over. There
are two important reasons for this.
First, the local fixer can no longer
guarantee that decision makers will
not pay a political price for casting
their vote to approve. Second, sometimes the local fixer is more concerned
with maintaining their relationship
with elected officials than they are
with supporting a operation's permit.
These two things mean that when misinformation reaches the local decision makers, there may be no one to
correct the facts and educate about
aggregates operations and support the
Do Your Homework
If it makes sense to conduct all that
due diligence regarding soil, the environment and traffic, doesn't it make
just as much sense to understand local
politics before submitting an application? The earlier you conduct an assessment of the community and decision
makers, the more resources you can
preserve for the permitting process.
A good assessment should include
a complete background on any local
official who could have input on
your application. Understanding
their political background, their
donors and community supporters
* You need to know if there is an
ongoing environmental group in
the community that will automatically oppose you.
* What are the thoughts of the
neighbors, what price range are
the homes, what is the most direct
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If you are a national or international company, opponents can trace
an incident that happened at one of
your plants in California and use it as
fodder to oppose a quarry in Florida.
Understanding this makes preparation
in all aspects of the application process
that more important.
Social media has also resulted in a
larger involvement of politics in any
application. Politicians are now under
pressure to address zoning changes.
There is even a real threat of the
opposing group running a candidate
of their choice against an incumbent
county commissioner to specifically
address a quarry.
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STONE, SAND & GRAVEL REVIEW, www.nssga.org