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Concerned neighbors take tour of quarry

December 19, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

About 20 neighbors concerned about the proposed expansion of the Beaver Creek quarry toured the facilities southeast of Hagerstown on Saturday morning.

Some residents said the tour gave them a better understanding of H.B. Mellott Estate Inc.'s expansion plans, but they still had some concerns.

Mellott has two quarries, one on each side of Md. 66 north of the Interstate 70 interchange. The company has an option to lease 79 acres along the northeast side of the interchange for 20 years from John Schneider.

The land is zoned conservation and Mellott wants it rezoned to have an industrial-mineral overlay, allowing the company to extract mineral reserves from the property.

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The Washington County Commissioners and the Washington County Planning Commission will hold a joint public hearing on the rezoning request at 7 p.m. on Jan. 11 at the Washington County Courthouse.

The neighbors' concerns include the effects blasting would have on their homes and the view of the proposed expansion from I-70.

The company has listened to the residents' concerns and plans to place berms along I-70, Md. 66 and the east side of the Schneider property to protect the view, said Carl Boyer, vice president of Mellott's environmental department.

The property may be visible for 50 feet to 100 feet from the interstate, Mellott officials said.

As for the blasting, it is not expected to become more or less frequent, Boyer said.

Neighbors who think cracks in their foundations or plaster are the result of blasting with dynamite at the quarry should call Mellott so they can determine whether the blasting caused the damage, Boyer said.

Patricia Riggle, who opposes the expansion, was one of several Meadow Rock Drive residents on the tour. Meadow Rock is east of the east quarry.

"We chose, knowing the quarry was here, to live here," Riggle said. What they didn't know was that the quarry would be expanded, she said.

While some residents felt more at ease after the tour with the proposed expansion, they had lingering concerns.

Sabrina Winpigler said she was more concerned about what Schneider would do with the property after the proposed 20-year lease expires and the land reverts back to him.

Winpigler also was worried about the possible effects on her Meadow Rock Drive home if the company blasted further east in the east quarry.

Boyer said there might be eight to 10 years left at the east quarry, but to mine the quarry's reserves, the L.W. Wolfe Enterprises Inc. asphalt plant on the east ridge of the quarry would have to be moved.

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