Finney County Commissioners, Pierceville Trustees discuss Huber Sand

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Pierceville Township Trustee Dan Harms speaks at the Finney County Commission meeting on Tuesday.

Finney County Commissioners and Pierceville Township Trustees discussed Huber Sand wanting to open a sand and gravel quarry in Pierceville at Tuesday's Finney County Commission meeting. 

Dan Harms, a Pierceville Trustee, said he and the other trustees, Vyrl Warren and Alex Lightner, main concern about Huber Sand is them accessing the Main Street of Pierceville. 

"One of our biggest concerns as trustees is we do not want to see that, we do not want that road to be used, we don't think that's an appropriate purpose and there needs to be alternate access of some kind for that," he said. "That's why we're here today, is to present that piece of the puzzle to you guys."

Dave Jones, Finney County Commissioner, said the county will have limited authority on the property if a conditional use permit is granted to Huber Sand and that as the road is public they can't exactly forbid use of it. 

"That would be impossible because how would the feed lots and the dairy to the south of you get truck service?" he said. "That's not a popular way to fix the problem. We're kind of struggling with what we can do and we don't see a lot."

Harms said he and his fellow trustees engaged James Carlson, managing partner at Stillwater Technical Solutions, a for-profit governmental subject matter experts on local government and federal relations, to look into the situation in regard to Huber Sand building an access road from their property to Main Street of Pierceville. 

James Carlson, managing partner of Stillwater Technical Solutions, talks about the Huber Sand situation in Pierceville Tuesday at the Finney County Commission meeting. He was engaged to look into the issue of Huber Sand using Pierceville's main roadway by the Pierceville Township Trustees.

In looking into the matter of road access, Carlson believes that the county does have jurisdiction of where Avenue E, the new access road to Huber Sand's property, connects to the Main Street of Pierceville and that they can enforce the concept of setbacks. 

For property owners right next to the road the Division of Conservation has statutory setbacks of 1 ft. per foot of depth, Carlson said. 

"We don't know how deep the permit engineering drawings that should be part of public record recommend, but we assume 50 ft. because that's down to the water table, 50-60 ft. So, if you assume that 3-1 gives us a setback of 150 ft.," he said. "There's also a mandatory set back ... of 50 ft., so that's 200 ft. setback from the town. I took that to the trustees and they said that's not enough, they wanted to double it, so their ask is 400 ft. of setback."

Additionally, American Warrior has three oil/gas wells near the Huber Sand property, so there may be additional setback requirements, Carlson said. 

Harms also hopes the Trustees, maybe a couple residents from Pierceville, someone from Huber Sand and someone from the County Commission could get together to talk and work out the issues. 

Leonard Hitz, a member of the Board of Zoning Appeals, hopes so as well. He believes there is a solution that will be satisfactory to all parties. 

"I'm convinced that we can do this," he said. "If you get a good representative or representatives, then we can have a good discussion and we can come up with a logical conclusion."

The conditional use permit for Huber Sand will be discussed at the next Board of Zoning Appeals meeting at 9 a.m. on July 21 in the Garden City Administrative Center.