Why it Matters. What We Can Do.
The Agricultural Preservation Area Map contained in the Jackson Community Comprehensive Plan places the majority of Parma Township in an Agricultural Preservation Area” (Parma Township Master Plan).
Parma Zoning Districts: Agricultural District (AG-1) This district is composed of those areas of the Township whose principal use is and ought to be farm operation. The regulations of this district are designed to conserve, stabilize, enhance and develop farm products and related resource utilization activities, to minimize conflicting uses of parcels, lots, buildings, and structures detrimental to or in compatible with farm operations, and to prohibit uses of parcels, lots, buildings and structures which require streets, drainage, and other public facilities and services of a different type and quantity than those normally required by farm operations. The regulations of this district are also meant to preserve the reasonable residential rights of farms with resident owners and/or operators (Parma Township Master Plan).
For further information in the 2016 Parma Township Master Plan that is relevant to this proposed gravel pit please click here, Parma Township Master Plan Goals & Objectives
Currently, a large-scale mining operation has expressed to begin their operations in our township.
On North Parma Road – Natural Resources Management (NRM) of Sylvania, OH has requested to mine a 330-acre site on the West side of North Parma Road between Mackie, Miner and Brown roads. This is a large-scale operation for the township, with impact that will certainly be felt by Parma and Sandstone township residents as well as anyone using North Parma Road.
In addition, there are several bills in the Michigan legislature that will impact if and how our township can permit or regulate mining activity here.
According to several experts, Michigan is not experiencing a shortage of aggregate mines nor materials. Recent data shows that the state has about 600 companies mining in about 1,300 sites throughout the state. While some may have been idle due to the COVID pandemic, they are not completely closed. And if there is an aggregate shortage in the state, why is Michigan one of the top exporters of gravel in the country? Downtown Newsmagazine
Very Serious Consequences
Open Pit Gravel Mines Depress Property Values FOR MILES – Numerous studies show that this type of mining dramatically depresses property values for miles around. Values drop from 5% as far away as 3-miles and as much as 35% within 1/2–mile! Read the Study.
Damaged Property Values Severely Affect Tax Revenues – It only follows that decreased property values lead to a decrease in tax revenues for the township and Jackson County. To address these shortfalls, governments either need to cut back — or increase everyone’s tax rates. So even if your property value doesn’t fall, you are still negatively affected by the overall value damage!
Gravel Mine Would Create Widely Known Deadly Health Issues – that Would Harm Hundreds of Jackson County Residents. Until recently, few understood the dangers created by crystalline silica dust. It has proven links to diseases that lead to death including silicosis, lung cancer, COPD, renal failure, and kidney disease as well as causing auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Ground Water Disturbance – What’s in the ground? Hundreds, if not thousands, of residents rely on groundwater drawn near the proposed mining site. Mining operations, washing, dust control and digging has the high probability of disturbing an already fragile groundwater source.
Traffic Safety – the danger gravel truck traffic would most certainly create is perhaps the most frightening, as it is also the most deadly. The danger is created by 82 ton gravel trucks slowly pulling out onto North Parma Road. What is the actual stopping distance of an 82 ton gravel train with brakes in less than peak condition that is speeding at 55 mph on wet roads?
Noise – The clamor of a gravel mine includes the revving of diesel engines from gravel trucks, bull dozers, crushers, sorters, and other equipment, the clanging racket of machines at work, and the daylong annoyance of OSHA required backup beeping – BEEP BEEP BEEP! This combined with the creation of noxious smells will lead to the loss of property enjoyment.
Michigan’s gravel statue provides categories of ‘very serious consequences’ (VSQ) into which all of these concerns can be grouped [MCL § 125.3205 (5) (a) through (f)]. Using broad labels, these include Existing Land Uses, Environmental Issues, Protection of Property Values, Traffic Safety, and Local Health, Safety, & Welfare.
This project will affect Parma Township, Sandstone Township, and surrounding areas.
Gravel mining can open pathways of exposure for groundwater contamination and interrupt ground and surface water flow.
Poorly regulated gravel extraction can release polluting particulates such as crystalline silica dust (a health hazard which, when fine enough, can travel a mile or more when airborne) and diesel exhaust. Learn more here.
The proposed North Parma Road mining operation will add ~150 round trips per day to the North Parma Road corridor in the Parma & Sandstone townships. Traffic for the proposed mine on North Parma Road would create more than 150 gravel trucks traveling through each day.
A 2006 study of residential property values in Richland Township (near Kalamazoo), conducted by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, showed a decline in property values based on proximity to a gravel mine there. Residences within 0.5 miles of that mine were expected to realize a 30% reduction in property value, while residences 3 miles away would realize a 5% reduction. The study authors believed these were conservative estimates. A 2019 study performed by Friends of the Platte River Watershed in Homestead and Inland Townships in Michigan, using similar methods, found property values near a proposed 150-acre mine would be depressed by nearly $14 million.
*If the same methodology was applied to Parma Township, the areas surrounding the gravel site would show the decline in property values shown here.
Original The Upjohn Study on property loss in proximity to aggregate mining considered its loss estimates to be “conservative”.
Aggregate mining damages soil and a poorly-reclaimed operation leaves a blight on the landscape.
Rock crushers, truck loading and truck traffic can create noise, both intermittent and continuous, over periods of time.
WHAT YOU CAN DO LOCALLY
Stay in contact with the Parma Township Planning Commission and Board of Trustees. Visit the Parma Township website, send a letter or drop by during their offices hours Monday from 10am-6pm and Tuesday/Wednesday at 10am-4pm. The phone number for the Parma Township Office is (517) 629-8277.
Contact Local Officials:
Township Supervisor: Wendy Chamberlain
email@example.com, (517) 630-1326
Township Clerk: Sarah Stanham
firstname.lastname@example.org, (517) 206-5011
Township Treasurer: Sheila Dermyer
email@example.com, (517) 630-1486
CONTACT YOUR ELECTED STATE OFFICIALS
Rep. Sarah Lightner (Republican): firstname.lastname@example.org, (517) 812-9960
Current House Speaker, Jason Wentworth. He may call this to the floor for a vote. email@example.com
New House leaders, Matt Hall and Joe Tate, who might be able to exert influence over lameduck activity:
Republican Senate Leader, Aric Nesbitt and also Senator Winnie Brinks, who may be able exert influence:
Governor Gretchen Whitmer, in case it gets to her desk in this session: Contact the Governor (michigan.gov)
There are several bills pending in the State House that would affect local jurisdiction over sand and gravel mining operations. The bills passed the Senate in June, 2021.
More on this legislation Senate Bill 429 Senate Bill 430 Senate Bill 431
About The Parma Preservation Society
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Parma Preservation Society is a non-profit, entirely volunteer organization, formed to gather and disseminate information on issues that impact the health, safety, well-being or property values of Parma Township residents. Currently, we are focused on the impact of proposed aggregate (sand and gravel) mining activity in the township. As residents, we can – and should – be informed and advocate on our own behalf by voicing our concerns to our elected officials. You can donate below to support our efforts. Continued thanks to all the concerned residents who help by communicating their encouragement, and donating their money, time and content.
Send us your thoughts, questions, opinions or ideas. We will act on them if we can and we’ll add you to our email list for occasional updates related to mining activity in the township.[wpforms id="311" title="0" description="0"]
Parma Preservation Society is a non-profit, entirely volunteer organization. We will use all donations to further our missio
n of gathering and disseminating information that impacts the health, safety, well-being, or property values of Parma Township residents.
PLEASE NOTE: your donations are not tax deductible at this point.
1.) Please make your monetary donations by sending a personal check to the ‘Parma Preservation Society’ at the address below or with the PayPal link below. These will help cover the costs associated with generating mailings, hosting events, purchasing reports, or commissioning research or professional fees.
2) Donations of time or talents are more than welcome. Please contact us if: You have particular skills or expertise in communication, or scientific, legal or environmental concerns. – You might be available for occasional activities such as obtaining signatures or stuffing envelopes.