Zeeland Township Pit Property Project Overview
Decades ago, the Ottawa County Road Commission (OCRC) had the sensible foresight to acquire several properties with aggregate resources located throughout the county. These “pit” properties were developed to provide aggregate, specifically sand and gravel, for construction and other operational needs of the county road system. Over time, the resources on these properties were periodically extracted, reflecting the ebbs and flows of market demand for such construction materials.
Since then, the needs of the county road system have changed and a new chapter for these properties has presented itself. In more recent years, a decline in the availability of aggregate commodities has been noted globally as well as in West Michigan. This decline – combined with the heightened need to invest in aging infrastructure – has convinced the OCRC Board that the time is right to consider extracting the remaining aggregate from selected pit properties.
It is the OCRC Board’s goal to move forward on this next chapter and to conduct this process in a way that is responsive and sensitive to community concerns yet allows for reasonable resource production and appropriate site reclamation.
For many years, the OCRC has managed these properties as valuable community assets that supported the county road system. At the conclusion of aggregate extraction and site reclamation, the OCRC intends that these properties will continue as valuable community assets.
As the first step in this new chapter, the OCRC has selected the Zeeland Township Pit Property (ZTP Property) as the leading site to be considered for restarting aggregate extraction. Aggregate mining operations had been conducted on the site in the past, accounting for the uneven topography, berms, and wetlands on the site. There is an anticipated 700,000 cubic yards of sand remaining on the site.
The extracted sand could be used for road, drainage, water main, and sanitary sewer improvements, as well as be available for commercial sales. Any proceeds from the mining operation would be used for the maintenance and upkeep of OCRC facilities and equipment, which will allow the OCRC to use more of its normal road funds directly toward the much-needed road and drainage infrastructure improvements across Ottawa County.
In order to engage a broader community conversation and to be transparent throughout this process, we will utilize this page to provide project updates and information as it is made available. We have also compiled the following list of frequently asked questions aimed at providing additional project information.
Zeeland Township Pit Property FAQs
Where is the site located?
The ZTP Property is approximately 82 acres and is located between 88th Avenue and 84th Avenue, directly south of Frontage Street in Zeeland Township (see map below).
The property is surrounded by rural, low density land uses, including a small residential subdivision, agricultural operations, and a county natural and recreation area. The site is about 2 miles from the City of Zeeland and 6 miles from the City of Holland.
The ZTP Property previously encompassed around 150 acres. However, in collaboration with the Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission (Parks Department), approximately 68 acres south of the remaining parcel were sold to the Parks Department in 2003 and 2004 for the development of the popular Upper Macatawa Natural Area (Upper Mac).
What is the status of the project?
The OCRC has received a Special Use Permit from Zeeland Township to perform the sand mining operation on the ZTP Property. Proposals from reputable contractors to perform the mining work will be solicited this early spring so operations can commence in 2021. The duration of the mining operation is anticipated to be a maximum of 10 years. However, the actual duration will depend on the amount of local agency needs, market conditions for aggregate, and commercial sales.
Upcoming actions will include working with other local and state agencies.
How (and where) where will extracted materials be used?
It has been reported that, historically, 90 percent of sand and gravel is used within 50 miles from where it was extracted. The dominant use of aggregate from natural deposits is filler and binder in concrete and asphalt for the construction of roads and buildings.
There is an anticipated amount of 700,000 cubic yards of sand remaining on the ZTP Property. The extracted sand could be used for road, drainage, water main and sanitary sewer improvements, as well as be available for commercial sales.
Any proceeds from the mining operation would be used for the maintenance and upkeep of OCRC facilities and equipment. This revenue would allow the OCRC to use more of its normal road funds directly toward the much-needed road and drainage infrastructure improvements across Ottawa County.
What will be the future uses of the site?
For over two decades, the ZTP Property has been master planned by the Parks Department as a potential public park site with a public lake. A portion of the property was sold to the Parks Department in 2003 and 2004 for the development of the existing Upper Mac.
While the expansion of the Upper Mac is one option for the property, it is not the only future use that may be considered by the OCRC once more detailed site plans are considered, evaluated, and finalized.
Regardless of what specific future use is ultimately determined, the removal of the remaining sand plus site reclamation will continue to be an essential step in developing this property. In shaping the future use of the site, it is the goal of the OCRC to identify the best use of the property that also provides the best value to the community.
Will there be any impacts to the surrounding areas from the sand mining operation?
The OCRC has goal to minimize any impacts from the sand mining operation and to be sensitive to community concerns about the operation.
The selected contractor will have to adhere to the requirements of the Special Use Permit granted by Zeeland Township that includes, but is not limited to, the hours of operation, site security, implementation of appropriate soil erosion and dust controls, and measures to mitigate noise.
The following summarizes the most frequent impact questions:
Upper Macatawa Natural Area
The sand mining operation will not affect the use or enjoyment of the existing Upper Mac. No mining activities will take place on park property.
An independent consultant, Progressive AE, has reviewed the ZTP Property sand mining operation and the nearby roadway system characteristics. Based on their review, they did not find any capacity or safety issues with the planned truck operations.
Trucks entering and exiting the site will use 88th Avenue from the site access drive north to BL-196, or 84th Avenue from the site access drive south to Adams Street.
Drainage and Surrounding Water Courses
The Ottawa County Water Resources Commissioner, who over sees all of the drainage systems and water courses in the area, has reviewed the ZTP Property sand mining operation and determined that, based on the existing drainage patterns, hydrology, water elevations, and soils for the OCRC parcel and surrounding areas, the proposed sand mining operation will not adversely impact the surrounding drains and water courses.
It was also noted that the project will be a benefit by providing additional flood plain storage for the area.
How can I report concerns about the sand mining operation?
We look forward to working with interested parties regarding the ZTP Property. Please share any concerns or information with us as the project unfolds. All community concerns about the sand mining operation can be directed to the OCRC. Please contact us at:
Phone: (616) 842-5400
Address: 14110 Lakeshore Drive, Grand Haven, MI 49417