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Quarry expansion plan draws fire

January 12, 1999

Quarry hearingBy SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




H.B. Mellott Estates Inc. officials argued Monday that expanding its Beaver Creek quarry from 129 to 208 acres would not have an adverse impact on the area.

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Some of the approximately 100 people attending a public hearing at the Washington County Courthouse on the company's rezoning request disagreed.

"We, the citizens, say no to this proposal because the cost to the many outweighs the value to the few," said Roger Worthington, president of Friends of Beaver Creek.

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The group formed as part of an effort to block the quarry's eastern expansion in 1985.

The hearing was part of a joint meeting of the Washington County Planning Commission and the County Commissioners.

Mellott's quarry is zoned conservation with an industrial-mineral overlay. The overlay is needed so the company can extract mineral reserves from the property.

Mellott has an option to lease from John Schneider 79 acres in the northeast corner of the Md. 66-Interstate 70 interchange. The land is zoned conservation and the company wants to add the industrial-mineral overlay.

The Maryland Department of the Environment will not act on the company's request to expand its mine to the south unless the County Commissioners approve the rezoning request and a mine site plan, said Timothy Lung, a county senior planner.

The quarry is adjacent to the Albert M. Powell Trout Hatchery area, which is fed by the Beaver Creek Spring.

The quarry currently is about 1,500 to 2,000 feet from Beaver Creek but it would be at least 500 feet closer if the expansion occurs, Lung said.

Greg Golden, a natural resource planner for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, said that the department is concerned about the impact the quarry expansion would have on the hatchery and the creek.

Eric Slavin, a consultant who testified as part of Mellott's presentation, said that due to the angle of the bedrock in the region, the quarry would not affect the supply or quality of the Beaver Creek water.

John Urner, a Mellott spokesman, said that the company will build a berm around the perimeter of the Schneider property. As a result, people driving by will not notice the quarry, he said.

Worthington said that the quarry would be an eyesore no matter what landscaping Mellott attempts.

Some residents living near the quarry maintain that blasting has caused problems, including shattering their windows.

Mark Crank, a consultant testifying for Mellott, said the company's blasting levels have never gone over state limits.

The issue will not go to the County Commissioners for a final decision until February or March, Lung said.

Residents have 10 days to comment on the issue.

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