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More analysis sought on quarry expansion

April 30, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

A Washington County senior planner wants more geology reports and analysis done before he makes a recommendation on a rezoning request needed for the expansion of the H.B. Mellott Estates Inc. quarry in Beaver Creek.

Senior Planner Timothy Lung, in his 11-page written report to the Washington County Planning Commission, expresses concern that expanding the quarry from 129 to 208 acres may damage Beaver Creek Spring. The creek feeds the Albert M. Powell Trout Hatchery area.

Attached to his report to the commission is a memo from Azmat Hussain, a county geologist, detailing what he saw as deficiencies in a study conducted by a hydro-geologist working for Mellott. While the Mellott study said the quarry will have no adverse effect on the region, Hussain said more information is needed to prove that claim.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the rezoning request at Monday's meeting. The company can't expand its mining operations without the zoning change.

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Lung said he expects the commission to take some kind of action, such as approval of the request but with some conditions. Any commission decision goes next to the Washington County Commissioners.

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, he said.

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.

Carl Boyer, a Mellott spokesman, said the company has no response or comment at this time. A comment may be made at Monday's meeting, though, he said.

Soon after the company made its rezoning request, local residents and other concerned citizens began organizing in opposition to the proposal.

Since the Jan. 11 joint public hearing before the County Commissioners and the Planning Commission, the county has received 31 letters in opposition to the expansion, including two petitions with 112 signatures against the idea, Lung said. About 100 people attended the public hearing.

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