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City of Boonville repeals its mining ordinance

Updated: Mar. 7, 2019 at 10:31 PM CST
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BOONVILLE, IN (WFIE) - City Council voted unanimously Thursday to repeal a two-year-old ordinance restricting coal mine blasting near town properties.

The ordinance, concerning mining activities and watercourses in and around the city, is now void.

Mayor Charlie Wyatt says an agreement has been reached between the city, Alcoa, Liberty Mine, and Save Our Homes LLC.

The agreement ensures a 1,000 foot blasting buffer between mining and private and city properties. It also ensures arbitrating damage claims between the parties.

“This will be a standard all across the nation," said Mayor Wyatt.

Alcoa Warrick Operations Communications Leader Kari Fluegel sent us a statement following Thursday’s council vote:

“Alcoa Warrick Operations is pleased that all obstacles have been cleared related to the Liberty Mine, providing future options for the integrated aluminum operation."

A representative for Save Our Homes spoke out at Thursday’s city council meeting.

“Nationally, municipalities typically haven’t stood up for homeowners in trying to protect their ability to live in their homes," Mark Phillips said. Phillips is Boonville’s city attorney, but stepped back his official position to council 90 members involved in Save Our Homes, LLC.

Phillips directly spoke to Mayor Charlie Wyatt during the meeting and thanks him for his efforts over the years.

“Had you not been willing to fight for people that have not only invested interest in this city’s continued development," Phillips continued, "giving the city’s expansion westward that’s been annexed, I don’t think we would have been able to fight and secure that agreement that was reached.”

The city will receive the balance of their money spent back through the negotiated settlement, which is frankly unheard of," Phillpis said. “The homeowners will receive the majority of their money back.”

Phillips told us the homeowners and the city spent nearly $400,000 on legal fees, collectively. He also added the agreement sets a precedent through the county’s board of zoning appeals, state entities, and the city government to ensure homeowner have safe guards moving forward.

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