The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality held a public hearing in regard to a permit request from St. Mary’s Cement that would likely increase industrial and construction activities near Fisherman’s Island State Park, reported the Petoskey News-Review.

Company officials are hoping to build a safety berm and perimeter access road near the Charlevoix plant’s southern border, allowing them better access as they work on developing a larger quarry on that portion of property. However, the area is classified as “mosaic wetland” and by state law requires St. Marys to obtain a wetlands permit for the project.

Residents attending the hearing raised concerns that the company’s quarry operations were creeping too close to state park land, and could potentially affect natural resources like McGeach Creek, a designated trout stream that runs through the land.

The plans have been pending for a while now. Documents indicate that the permit request was filed with the DEQ and Army Corps of Engineers in March, although no public hearing was scheduled at that time.

In an email to the Petoskey News-Review, Scott Dean, spokesman for the DEQ, confirmed that the public hearing was scheduled as “a result of requests by private citizens and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (who own property immediately adjacent to the quarry).”

The agency continued fielding public input online until Aug. 25.

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