An open letter to the decision makers of the Sagle Asphalt Plant

By Jonna Plante
Reader Contributor

This is an open letter to Linscott Gravel, Interstate Concrete and Asphalt, Bonner County Planning & Zoning and Bonner County Commissioners:

Our group is tired of the corruption displayed by the decisions being made on behalf of the citizens in the Sagle area. 

The zone changed in April and May of 2018, allowing asphalt plant to be allowed in rural, agricultural and forest lands on an active gravel pit, was illegally accomplished by claiming to the public, as per your public notice, that the hearings were to discuss gravel pits in industrial zones. This is not what was discussed at the hearings! Instead asphalt plants were added to be allowed in rural, agricultural and forest lands on an active gravel plant. This did not allow people in areas of rural, agricultural and forest lands to come and give their concern and you denied them their rights to tell you they want asphalt plants to stay in industrial areas where asphalt plants should be placed, not next to their homes.

Then the Bonner County Planning Department allowed nonconforming land use property, Linscott Gravel, to put in an application to expand their operation to ADD an asphalt plant. The application should have been denied per the Bonner County Comprehensive Plan since Linscott has already grown beyond what was allowed per the Comp Plan. Linscott Sand and Gravel was grandfathered in 1981 where the gravel pit was 18 acres, and the Comp Plan says it can grow 10% without a permit and up to 50%, or 36 acres, with a permit. Linscott gravel has illegally expanded their gravel pit to over 100 acres with no permit. Also against the law is Linscott has leased out land to Interstate Asphalt to surface mine 45 acres and it does not have a permit either. Both Linscott Gravel and Interstate Asphalt are illegally surface mining and digging up aggregate and sand and selling it without permits, something no one else could do without a permit, yet everyone in the county is allowing it to continue. Why? No one else could get away with surface mining without permits!

Then the Bonner County Planning Commissioners decided in a split decision to agree to this asphalt plant, shocking the community. Then the County Commissioners voted unanimously for it, not following their own laws, the state of Idaho laws, or the 99.99 percent of the people at the hearing not wanting the move from Sandpoint to Sagle, the same ones who didn’t want it moved in 1995 and in 2015 where the previous County Commissioners voted against the move claiming it was against the comp plan.

We spoke with Gary Allen, Givens Pursley Law Offices, who wrote the “Idaho Land Use” handbook to confirm our legal findings and again, you ignored the laws, and voted against us all. 

We ask for you to follow the laws of Bonner County Comprehensive Plan, and Idaho state laws, and to shut down Linscott!

We will always fight to protect the community from changes that will drop our property values and destroy our property rights! We have the right to enjoy our property free from sounds, smells, and contamination. We want our life to continue how it’s been forever – Quiet rural living, dark night quiet skies, clean air, and perfect water. It includes the smells of nature with wildlife surrounding us. We don’t want you risking our aquifer by placing an asphalt plant right over our Sagle aquifer which supplies homes with water, nor do we want water draining off your asphalt plant down to the river, less than a half mile downhill, and into the fish hatchery. 

In case you haven’t figured it out, we are not going away or stopping our battle against having an asphalt plant in Sagle. We will never give up battling for the changes you are pushing on our community, which have happened illegally. 

We will commit whatever time, resources, blood, sweat and tears necessary. Whatever it takes. However long it takes. This is our community. We aren’t going anywhere. Our fight will never end, and we will never give up.

Shut Linscott Gravel down, and stop the move by Interstate from Sandpoint to Sagle!

Jonna Plante is a member of Citizens Against Linscott-Interstate Asphalt Plant, a nonprofit organization in Sagle. Write to: [email protected] for more information.

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