A Fallston company has lost its appeal on a proposal for a tree-grinding and gravel excavation operation on a 56-acre site near Joppa.
The Board of Zoning Appeals, made up of the seven County Council members, voted unanimously Tuesday to uphold a zoning hearing examiner'sdecision denying the proposal.
T. C. Simons Inc., a construction and contracting company, was seeking seven special zoning exceptions and variances in order to beginoperation on several parcels of land it owns on Mountain Road near Singer Road.
The project has been opposed by area residents, who formed a group called the Mountain Road Defenders Association. The group said it objects to the noise and traffic the operation could create. They were also concerned about the project's effect on ground water.
"Drippings and grease from the diesel trucks would also affect our wells," said Edward Sokel, association president, last week.
InMarch, hearing examiner William F. Casey denied the exceptions and variances. He said the company did not provide enough information on the proposal and its effect on the neighborhood.
In an appeal Tuesday, Michael Leaf, a Bel Air lawyer representing Simons, asked zoning appeals board to approve at least some of the exceptions or variances.
Leaf said he would not argue the most controversial point -- whether the company should be allowed to begin a mulch and tree-stump grinding operation.
"You mean you're withdrawing the stump grinding and mulch operation proposal?" asked Councilman Robert S. Wagner, R-District E.
"Well, I'd hate to say withdraw, in the event of an appeal, but we're not pushing it this evening," replied Leaf.
Simons wanted to start the gravel extraction operation on two tracts on Mountain Road. Simons needed the exceptions or variances because the landis zoned for agricultural use.
Patrick Spicer, a lawyer representing the Mountain Road Defenders Association, argued that Simons failed to provide sufficient information for the hearing examiner to make a decision.
"They could not tell the hours of use, and what's mosttroubling in this case is that Simons wants to lease out one of the parcels without providing any information as to what the third parties will do with it. They've just asked for blanket special exceptions," said Spicer.
"In addition, to have commercial vehicles on the site would increase traffic, and increase noise and adversely affect property values."
In casting his vote to uphold the hearing examiner's decision, Council President Jeffrey D. Wilson described Leaf's arguments as "artful," but said he was not persuaded.