Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Glades To Encourage Trucks On Kirby Thompson Road?

Controversy Over Truck Route Through Hendry and Glades County

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Glade County Commissioners discussed  a proposal to allow a Hendry County company use of Glades roads to access a Charlotte county rock mine site.

The Board reviewed and discussed the 12-page draft proposal prepared by County Attorney Pringle for "Last Chance Mine" to provide a Roadway Service Life Reduction Fee to Glades County for the use of Kirby Thompson Road and CR720 west of Kirby Thompson Road in Glades County as a haul route from their mining site on the Charlotte-Glades County line as required by Charlotte County for issuance of the mining permit. (The mining site is wholly contained in Charlotte Co.)

The "Last Chance Mine" owners were profiled in a February 27th Sunday Morning News story. The company is apparently a very newly formed company and one of the owners, Dean Daniels, has been the owner/operator of several failed real estate and mine related businesses operating out of Hendry county this year.

Objections By Hendry County Officials - May Be Last Chance For Company?

Glades Commissioner Donna Storter Long stated she had correspondence from Hendry County Planning and Engineering Departments who had met with Charlotte County officials, and they object to the use of Kirby Thompson Road extending into Hendry County and that Highway 78 in Hendry County  and Lee County is restricted to no through truck traffic; thus if Glades County approves use of its portion of  Kirby Thompson Road, the trucks would be subject to penalty for continuing on Kirby Thompson onto SR78  in Hendry County and would likely detour and use Glades County roads for egress.

County Attorney Pringle stated that truck traffic already used those Hendry County roadways hauling from the farms in the Muse area. 

Last Chance Pit LLC owners Dean Daniels and Kelvin Townsend stated they could not control the routes used by truckers hauling from their pit but were willing to pay for damages to specified roads that was attributable to their use.  Dean Daniels later in the meeting stated that they anticipated about 100 trucks per day and most of the material would be hauled to their own developments, making some wonder why he made the earlier statement that he could not control the truck routes.

When the issue was originally presented before the Glades BoCC February 26, 2007, Last Chance offered a damage bond of $121,895 and annual fee of $47,200.  The issue was tabled pending testing and assessment of the roads in questions, which was subsequently performed by Aim Engineering to establish a profile of the current condition of the road and bridge on the proposed route.

Commissioner Long stated that there is a weight restriction on Bee Branch Bridge which was due for replacement next year and she expressed concern that truckers will then take an easterly route through Muse on CR720, Firetower Road, Pollywog Crossover and Whidden Road (and Fernwood through Crescent Acres) to gain access to either SR 29 or SR 74.  The proposed agreement limited Last Chance�s liability to only Kirby Thompson and the west end of CR 720 as approved routes.

Commissioner Beck commented that as Muse continues development, a market for fill would exist but this proposal prohibited trucks from going into Muse.  Attorney Pringle stated he could provide language that allowed local deliveries.

Citing the conditions of the haul route over Bronson Road to Rigdill�s pit, Commissioner Echols stated the mine owners could control the truckers by refusing to allow them to haul from their pit and if the penalties were high enough, they would be motivated to force the truckers to comply. 

Commissioner Long stated that the mine operation may not have a contract with the haulers and would be selling fill and sand to customers who may provide their own haulers thus the mine could not control the trucker�s choice of routes.  She asked about the possibility of the mine creating its own roadway within Charlotte County to access SR 74 to the north.  Chairman Jones commented that would be preferable or perhaps another solution would be to assess tonnage or load rates to pay for road repairs since the proposal requires daily load reports.
Commissioner Long reminded the Board that Charlotte County, and not Glades County, would benefit from the ad valorem and property tax assessments on the mine and the county would be enduring the damages and abuse or use of our roads and even with the agreement, would bear the uncertainty of actual future costs and inconvenience.

The Board gave no consensus to the proposed agreement, and no quantities were suggested for the annual minimum payments, road damage bond amount or penalties for failure to control truckers� use of roadways. County Manager Taylor suggested that the bond amount be set high enough to protect the county so that it would encourage compliance.

County Attorney Pringle stated he had told company owner Daniels he hoped to complete the agreement by the end of August. 

More About the "Last Chance Mine" Owner

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