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Mellott wants conditions of rezoning nixed

August 09, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

H.B. Mellott Estates Inc. has asked a Washington County Circuit judge to remove conditions imposed by the Washington County Commissioners on a 79-acre rezoning the company needs to expand its Beaver Creek quarry.

The conditions include putting a fence around the property, which would duplicate existing state regulatory requirements, Bronwyn Weaver, a Mellott spokeswoman, said Monday.

County Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger said he does not care whether the conditions and regulations come from the county or the state as long as the company abides by them.

Mellott's written pleading, filed Friday, follows the July 23 filing of a petition by three members of the Friends of Beaver Creek. The three residents asked a judge to stop the addition of an industrial-mineral overlay over 79 acres at the northeast corner of the Md. 66-Interstate 70 interchange.

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The company needs the overlay so it can extract mineral reserves from the property.

Roger Worthington, president of Friends of Beaver Creek, said he is not surprised by Mellott's action and said it won't change the group's legal strategy.

Friends of Beaver Creek was formed in 1985 in an unsuccessful effort to block expansion of the quarry on its east side.

The county will go before the court and explain the reasons for the June 29 vote to rezone and the conditions, County Administrator Rodney Shoop said. The vote was 3-2 with Commissioners William J. Wivell and Paul L. Swartz opposed.

As part of the approval, the commissioners imposed three conditions to address concerns. Some residents fear the quarry will damage Beaver Creek Spring, which feeds the Albert M. Powell Trout Hatchery area.

Mellott wants waived a county requirement that the company place a fence around the 79-acre property because it is "ambiguous and not necessary," Weaver said. The company is in the process of fencing the entire 209-acre property, she said.

The commissioners also said the "zone of dewatering influence" around the quarry must be expanded, which means that if neighbors' wells or the creek are damaged then Mellott would have to remedy the problem, Iseminger said.

The company already is working with the state on an expansion of that zone, Weaver said.

The county also required the company to do a study answering questions raised by opponents about the project's impact on the region.

Before the company can do any mining work on the quarry, the Washington County Planning Commission must approve the site plan. The Maryland Department of the Environment also must approve the quarry expansion

Demand and other factors would dictate how soon work would begin in the new section of the quarry, Weaver said.

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