NEW WINDSOR — Nearly 60 people crowded into the Town Hall Wednesday to voice opinions on mining and joining the historic register.
Although he expected a crowd at the monthly council session, Mayor James C. Carlisle said he was surprised by the standing-room-only turnout.
Micki Smith, president of the town's Heritage Committee, may havediffused the tension in the room with a request to table her bid to have New Windsor join the National Register of Historic Places until mining queries are resolved.
"Joining the register would reflect our interest in the town's history," she said. "The proposal has become associated with mining issues. They are not connected in any way."
With that issue tabled, those attending directed attention to the council's stance on a comprehensive mining plan.
"Many of us want to know where this council stands on mining," said James Chadwick of Church Street. "Do you welcome it unanimously, with open arms, or do you have reservations?"
The mayor said the council has little input into the County Commissioners' final decision on a plan developed by the Mineral Resource Advisory Committee.
The plan, which is an amendment to the county's master zoning plan, is intended to balance the interests of the mining companies and residents. The commissionersare expected to vote on it later this year.
"Your hands are not tied," said Chadwick. "You have an ethical responsibility to protect this community from any negative impacts."
Councilman R. Kenneth Greensaid officials are working to protect air and water supplies.
The mayor said the issue was settled years ago when the cement companyfirst purchased land surrounding the town.
"Lehigh (Cement Co.) bought land fair and square years ago," said former state Delegate V. Lanny Harchenhorn, attorney and resident.
Nancy Chadwick was amongthose who disagreed.
"Just because somebody'sgrandfather sold land to mining companies years ago doesn't mean we can't do anything today," she said. "Limitations are possible."
The mayor recommended three guidelines on mining to the commissioners:
* No mining withina half-mile of town.
* Mining should occur south of the town of 842 residents before north.
* Wherever possible, mining companies should use the railroads instead of trucks for transportation.
The council authorized Neal C. Roop, resident and owner of a town grocerystore, to conduct a written survey within the town on the two issues.
Smith added those who want to know about the register can participate in several workshops planned by The Maryland Historic Register in the coming months. Details are expected at the next council meeting.