Information on the Legal Battle With Richfield Over Scenic Pit LLC Operating a Clean Fill Facility to Restore the Abandoned Quarry Located at 609 Scenic Rd. in Colgate, WI.
Scenic Pit LLC v. Village of Richfield, et al
The question the courts were asked to answer was "Are Clean Fill Facilities Exempt From Local Approvals?"
Answer: Yes, to avoid conflict in communities, and because clean fill facilities are needed everywhere in Wisconsin, they are a statewide concern, and the legislature has removed the ability for local municipalities to regulate them. Clean fill facilities are regulated by the WDNR.
A sand and gravel company obtains a Conditional Use Permit (C.U.P.) from the Town of Richfield to mine the 609 Scenic Rd. (Scenic Pit). As part of the C.U.P. the mining company was required to submit a Restoration Plan (now called a reclamation plan) as a condition of mining. The restoration plan required that once mining seized that the property be restored to a viable land use. They were required to makes the slopes a grade of 3:1, 4 to 6 inches of topsoil, seeded, and mulched, and other various requirements.
Mining at 609 Scenic Rd. (Scenic Pit) seized. The Town of Richfield allowed the bond to expire on the C.U.P. and restoration was never completed.
Subdivisions were developed to the north and west of the Scenic Pit.
Current owners of the Scenic Pit requested a refund because they were overtaxed. The Village Assessor admitted that the Scenic Pit had been assessed as "upper woodland" when it was, in fact an "abandoned quarry". The Village of Richfield Agreed and voted to refund the current owners.
Village of Richfield adopts the 2014, 20 Year Comprehensive Plan, which includes the Scenic Pit being designated as "quarry redevelopment".
Zoulek Family LLC/Scenic Pit LLC makes an offer to purchase the Scenic Pit. The current owners accept the offer to purchase.
Village of Richfield agrees restoration of Scenic Pit follows the current 20 Year Comprehensive Plan, because it needs to be restored.
Village of Richfield sends a letter to the current owners of Scenic Pit, in an attempt to deter them from accepting Scenic's off to to purchase.
Village of Richfield begins the process of rezoning the Scenic Pit from M-5 (Mineral Extraction) to RS-1 (Country Estates) in an effort to prevent clean fill from being used to restore the abandoned quarry at Scenic Pit.
Jim Healy sends an email to residents near the Scenic Pit to encourage them to come to the public hearings and oppose the Scenic Pit
from becoming a clean fill facility for the purposes of restoration. The email, attached with a citizen's flyer, was found on the trails of the upper woodland portion surrounding the Scenic Pit.
Washington Circuit Court, Judge Andrew Gonring granted Summary Judgment to the Village of Richfield and dismissed Scenic's claims.
Scenic Pit LLC filed an appeal with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District II.
The Court of Appeals held an oral argument on Scenic Pit LLC v. Village of Richfield, et al.
The Court of Appeals District II unanimously reversed Judge Gonring's opinion at the Washington County Court.
Village of Richfield voted to petition the Supreme Court to hear the case and try and get the WI Supreme Court to take the case.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Denies to Review the Village of Richfield's Petition for Review of the Court of Appeals' Decision
Circuit Court Judge Andrew Gonring signs the Remand and Remittitur enforcing the Court of Appeals Decision
We are now taking clean fill and lining up jobs for the spring, summer, and fall projects. It's been a long road!