Proposed Cty K Quarry Threatens Green Lake

In 2022 a group of local citizens and non-profits combined forces to stop the Skunk Hollow Mine. Kopplin & Kinas now seeks to create an 80-acre quarry and manufacturing operation, called the K Quarry, just a half a mile away from the site of Skunk Hollow Mine. The proposed site would be located on the main east-west thoroughfare, County K, and would be seen by locals and tourists traveling to Green Lake. For the company to receive approval from Green Lake County, they must prove they meet all 13 legal standards for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to mine land located within a Farmland Preservation District (zoned A-1). The Skunk Hollow Mine, the company failed to satisfy 5 of the 13 standards (starred below) and they were denied the permit.

From Green Lake County’s Land Use Legislation, Article VII on Conditional Use Permits, section § 350-56B (2) and section § 350-27A (2)(e)  

  1. * Will not have a negative effect upon the health, safety, and general welfare of occupants of surrounding lands; (did not meet standard for Skunk Hollow application)
  2. * Will be designed, constructed, operated, and maintained so as to be harmonious and be appropriate in appearance with the existing or intended character of the general vicinity and that such a use will not change the essential character of the same area; (did not meet standard)
  3. *Will not be hazardous or disturbing to existing or future neighboring uses;(did not meet standard)
  4. *Will not be detrimental to property in the immediate vicinity or to the community as a whole; (did not meet standard)
  5. Will be served adequately by essential public facilities and services, such as highways, streets, police and fire protection, drainage structures, and schools, and that the persons or agencies responsible for the establishment of the proposed use shall be able to provide adequately any such service; and
  6. Will have vehicular approaches to the property which shall be so designed as not to create an interference with traffic on surrounding public or private streets or roads.
  7. The operation complies with Subchapter I of Chapter 295, Wisconsin Statutes, and rules promulgated under that subchapter, with applicable provisions of local ordinances under § 295.14, Wis. Stats. (including all applicable provisions of this chapter), and with any applicable requirements of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources concerning the restoration of nonmetallic mining sites.
  8. The operation and its location in the farmland preservation zoning district are consistent with the purposes of the farmland preservation zoning district.
  9. *The operation and its location in the farmland preservation zoning district are reasonable and appropriate, considering alternative locations outside the farmland preservation zoning district, or are specifically approved under state or federal law. (did not meet standard)
  10. The operation is reasonably designed to minimize the conversion of land around the extraction site from agricultural use or open space use.
  11. The operation does not substantially impair or limit the current or future agricultural use of surrounding parcels of land that are zoned for or legally restricted to agricultural use.
  12. The owner agrees to restore the land to agricultural use, consistent with any required reclamation plan, when extraction is completed.
  13. Compliance with Chapter 323(Nonmetallic Mining Reclamation).

Facts about the proposed K Quarry that can be used as substantial evidence in not meeting the County standards for mining in the farm preservation area:

  1. Acid rock drainage (ARD): Contamination of groundwater by metals is possible even if the mining is above the water table as Kopplin & Kinas proposes. ARD can occur where sulfide minerals are exposed to air and water as aggregate material from mining is stored on site. ARD can infiltrate downward to the water table and into private wells, springs, streams, and Green Lake as noted in the December 2022 hydrologic evaluation of the Skunk Hollow Mine by Emmons and Olivier Resources, Inc.
  2. The mine will change the essential character of the area: The area is a farming and residential community with several unique and fragile natural wonders whose protection is part of the Conservancy’s mission.
  3. Failure to explore alternative sites: Farmland Preservation Districts are meant to preserve farmland, protect soil and water, and minimize land use conflicts. Mines can be placed in unzoned areas which comprise about one-third of county land as seen in Map 7 of the 2016 Green Lake Comprehensive Plan. The proposed K Quarry is inconsistent with the intent of the Farmland Preservation District.
  4. The mine will be detrimental to property in the immediate vicinity: Real estate appraisers estimate that those properties would lose between 25 – 30% of their value as noted in the December 2022 estimate of property values in the Skunk Hollow neighborhood by Real Estate Dynamics, Inc.
  5. The site would be located next to a liquid propane facility: Cole Propane currently stores 2 tall towers of propane and 48 residential-sized tanks of propane. Kopplin & Kinas will be blasting next door to this facility.
  6. Tests revealed extremely high arsenic and sulfide levels in a deep irrigation well on the adjacent Machkovich property north of the proposed mine (DNR lab report 9-7-2012). Mining introduces oxygen into the aquifer which can cause chemical reactions that release arsenic into the groundwater. Pumping of a water supply well (which Kopplin &Kinas anticipate needing) at the mine site can also trigger this process.
  7. Truck traffic and safety issues on County K: According to Kopplin & Kinas’ proposal, there will be 20 heavy trucks a day slowly entering a 55-mile an hour highway six days of the week. Average traffic is currently 2,400 cars per day. School buses use this route. Gravel from the quarry could also cause potential problems.
  8. Preserve and protect the lake! Green Lake is the driving economic force in the County. We need to protect our investment in the quality of the lake and the streams and creeks that feed it. The proposed mine could endanger all of that.

During the Thursday, May 2nd County hearing on the K Quarry CUP, Chair Charles Buss limited public comments to 15 minutes. Only five citizens were allowed to speak; another twenty waiting to speak were denied that opportunity. The County Supervisors postponed their deliberations and will take up the issue again on June 14, but we anticipate they may NOT allow more public comments. Thus, we ask you to call or write to the individual Supervisors listed below and email the County clerk Liz Otto [email protected] on or before Wednesday, May 29 to have your comments included in the packet for the hearing. Please use the lists of standards and substantial evidence given above as you craft your arguments.

Charles Buss (Chairman) 920.767.1517 | [email protected]
Gene Thom 920.361.0305 | [email protected]
Nancy Hoffman 608.697.7996 | [email protected]
Bill Boutwell 920.539.6386 | [email protected]
Curt Talma 920.229.5251 | [email protected]
Harley Reabe 920.294.0824 | [email protected]

Friday June 14 at 9am at Green Lake County Courthouse,
571 County Road A, Green Lake


Have your comments included in the board member packets, by specifically requesting inclusion for the June 14th LUP&ZC meeting. Send comments by May 29 to:
Liz Otto, County Clerk, 517 County Road A, Green Lake, WI 54941
[email protected]