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Judge lets residents join quarry appeal

February 09, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

Some residents protesting the expansion of a quarry have been allowed to join a formal challenge of the project's zoning.

Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III ruled Wednesday that six members of Friends of Mt. Aetna Creek can join a pending court appeal.

In July 2005, the Washington County Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a zoning change that lets H.B. Mellott Estate Inc. expand Beaver Creek Quarry.

The commissioners' vote - which went against a Washington County Planning Commission recommendation - allowed an industrial mineral floating zone to be placed over 80.33 acres zoned agricultural.

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The land is on the east side of Mapleville Road.

Easterday Family Partnership of Hagerstown appealed the commissioners' decision on Aug. 11, 2005.

A week later, members of Friends of Mt. Aetna Creek, or FROMAC, filed a motion to intervene, asking to become a party in the appeal.

In court papers, G. Macy Nelson, a Towson, Md., attorney representing FROMAC, asked for 18 members of the group to become parties in the appeal.

Wright ruled Wednesday in favor of including six FROMAC members, three of whom testified during a hearing in Washington County Circuit Court.

The six FROMAC members are Mariusz and Barbara Lubomirski, Paul Kessler, Elizabeth Nicholas, Robert Bryce and Carl Rodriguez.

John Urner, a Hagerstown attorney representing H.B. Mellott Estate, argued against allowing FROMAC members to join in the appeal.

Urner said the petitioners either weren't adjoining property owners, didn't testify at a zoning hearing or both, among other reasons.

Wright, however, said six members met the conditions for being "aggrieved parties" and could join the appeal.

The other petitioners did not have a sufficient connection to the quarry property to be added, he said.

Wright told Nelson and Urner that a hearing on the appeal will be held in the late summer or fall.

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