The County Commissioners continued negotiations with attorneys for acitizens environmental coalition and Lehigh Portland Cement Co. on abond agreement establishing conditions for mining near New Windsor.
The discussion centered on a provision in the document, called an indenture, advising Lehigh that the county is reviewing its master plan for development, which could result in zoning changes that restrict or prohibit mining on property owned by Lehigh.
Lehigh's attorney, William Dulany, argued that the clause was unfair because it applies only to Lehigh even though there are other mining companies either doing business in the county or considering opening a quarry here. He also said it is an "affront" to Lehigh, in effect saying the company will be dishonest.
Lehigh's activities already are strictly regulated by state agencies, he said.
Clark R. Shaffer, attorney for the New Windsor Citizens Action Project, argued that the commissioners should insist on leaving the clause in the document to protect citizens and the board's authority to establish zoningchanges and restrictions that would hold up in court, if contested in the future.
"The purpose is to prevent Lehigh from later denyingthat they were informed a master plan review was going on that couldaffect the zoning of their property," said Shaffer.
Lehigh owns about 750 acres between Route 31 and Old New Windsor Road, just southwest of New Windsor. The state has approved mining permits for a 66-acre quarry, part of a 186-acre plot.
The company has plans to expand the mining area to about 300 acres, including a 132-acre pit.
Residents in the Wakefield Valley area have expressed concerns that mining expansions in the region could have adverse impacts on water supplies, property, land values and quality of life.
County planners currently are working on a comprehensive mining plan that will more clearly define which land should be eligible for mining.