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Commissioners add language to H.B. Mellott zoning request

April 04, 2002|BY SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to clarify a June 29, 1999, decision approving H.B. Mellott Estates Inc.'s request to rezone 79 acres in the northeast corner of the company's Beaver Creek quarry near the Md. 66-Interstate 70 interchange.

Washington County Circuit Judge John McDowell, in a June 16, 2000, ruling, overturned the commissioners' decision.

Tuesday's vote was 3-2, with Commissioners William Wivell and Paul Swartz opposed. Both also opposed the original rezoning request.

H.B. Mellott Estates requested an industrial-mineral overlay designation to match the zoning on the rest of the quarry. The company needed the designation in order to extract mineral reserves from the property.

McDowell, in his ruling, said the commissioners did not sufficiently demonstrate the rezoning would be compatible with the area.

In an Oct. 2, 2000, ruling, the Court of Special Appeals said McDowell erred in that finding and in overturning the commissioners' action.

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The issue was sent back to the commissioners for them to add comments or documents to the county record for clarification. A second vote was not needed, County Attorney Richard Douglas said.

At Douglas' recommendation, the commissioners on Tuesday added to the record a 10-page document that specifies why the county believed the change would not affect visual compatibility or groundwater compatibility.

Henry Heaton II, Roger Worthington and Neil A. Wright, who live near the quarry, petitioned Washington County Circuit Court in July 1999 to block the rezoning. The men are members of Friends of Beaver Creek, a group formed in 1985 in an unsuccessful effort to block expansion of the quarry on its east side.

Terry Randall, Mellott vice president, said the company doesn't know when it will begin the mining because the Washington County Planning Commission first must approve the site plan for the project.

Issues that have been raised about the proposal by opponents, including the effect of further mining, will be addressed by the Planning Commission, said Commissioner Bert Iseminger, ex-officio member of the Planning Commission.

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