Sand and Gravel Mining

Asked March 27, 2015, 6:53 PM EDT

Is there any hope of successfully challenging a sand mining permit since the 2011 Michigan Zoning Enabling Act? What I'm reading online makes it look pretty bleak. I'm not sure as to why its okay for someone to mine their land for a large profit while at the same time it is driving the value of my home way down.

Kent County Michigan

1 Response

The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act requires the evaluation be based upon a cost-benefit analysis: the benefit of the gravel and its products versus the public costs for its extraction. In addition it requires a finding of "very serious consequence" (based on the cost-benefit) to be able to deny a permit.

There has been local governments successful in denying a land use permit, but those have been a very small number compared to the total number of applications received.

One can only mine sand where the mineral (aggregate or sand) is found, so restricting it to certain zoning districts often does not work. Mineral rights in Michigan are considered superior to land surface.ownership rights. If one can't do things on the surface to get to the mineral, then the mineral essentially becomes worthless. I'm not saying this is fair, or the way it should be -- just reporting that is the way it is.