UPDATE (10/2/23): The development board approved Beaver Materials’ request for zoning variance by a vote of 3-2. The company will now have the opportunity to move forward with its proposed gravel mining project.
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — A proposed gravel pit in Noblesville is sparking outcry from residents concerned about health impacts and their property value.
On Monday night, a land development board will decide if Beaver Materials will get a step closer to digging a pit near homes in Noblesville.
“This is your million-dollar home where the digging will happen,” said area resident Pamela Sasse.
Sasse lives near 161st Street and Cherry Tree Road in Noblesville. Beaver Materials has filed a zoning variance to start a sand and gravel mining project near Sasse’s address.
As of now, the area is residentially zoned. Beaver Materials will have to change that classification to get its gravel project greenlit.
“At tonight’s meeting, they will tell us that we cannot speak,” Sasse said. “I’m willing to go to jail if I have to because I’m not through speaking about this.
“A variance usually is used if you want to put a bar on your building. If you want to make your home bigger with a zoning change, there would be months and months of public hearings. We were given one chance to talk only.”
Sasse isn’t just worried about her home. She also cares about a soccer club and a winery that are located on 161st Street.
“When they dig gravel, it causes larger dust particulates,” Sasse said. “When dust gets in your lungs, it does not go away.”
According to Beaver Materials, no blasting would be done at the site. The company claims it will not release a large volume of dust into the area’s air if its mining project is blast-free.
Officials from Beaver Materials have said mining operations will happen six days a week.
Following Monday night’s meeting, FOX59/CBS4 spoke with the Beaver family. While many nearby homeowners shared their concerns about the location of the site, the Beaver family argues they chose the spot for good reason.
“We have to go where mother nature put it,” described Allyn Beaver, whose grandfather started the company. “We can’t go where we want to go, we have to go where mother nature put the gravel.”
Beaver’s son now runs the company. The board’s decision followed a review of data, reports and letters from both sides. Beaver said he believes the board made the right decision.
“I really think they did, yes,” he said. “They did their homework.”
While Beaver said he does not believe many of the concerns raised by neighbors will actually be a problem, some neighbors are still not convinced. Health issues were among some residents’ biggest concerns.
“I’m afraid of the particles, you know, causing lung cancer and killing all the wildlife around there,” said homeowner Rita Wood following Monday’s decision. “There’s just so many things to think about.”
Opponents can appeal the decision to the Hamilton County Circuit, but otherwise, the decision is final and does not require action by the city council. Meanwhile, opponents said they are looking to possibly sue the board.
Michael van Schoik also contributed to this report.