By MARK EVANS
After meeting for nearly two hours with attorney Steve Jeffery and several members of Operation Sand last Thursday, the Ste. Genevieve County Commission had a change of heart.
The commissioners had been convinced that neither they nor the county health board could legally pass an ordinance prohibiting or restricting land use. Residents near the site of a proposed silica sand mine in the northern part of the county had been vocal in their opposition to the mine, forming the Operation Sand LLC., to fight it.
Jeffery, who had spoken to the commissioners in late April, before conducting part of an April 30 informational meeting in Weingarten, believes the county does have the legal authority to enact such ordinances.
After considerable discussion, all three commissioners agreed that appeared unlikely the county would be put in grave danger of lawsuits by taking action, and that inaction might be worse.
They decided to pass an ordnance putting restrictions on industrial operations within the county, such as set-backs, a certain distance from homes.
SIMPSON BID APPROVED
The commissioners voted to accept a bid from Keith Simpson Contracting of Scott City to repair the Franklin Bridge.
The 102-year-old structure over the St. Laurent Creek, just outside of St. Mary, has slipped off its support beams and has cracked a ring wall. Simpson’s base bid was $64,000. Being an emergency and requiring special skills and experience, the commission does not have to put the job out for bid.
Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson sad he was relieved to get the bid. He said he had feared it might be in the $75,000-$100,000 range.