After hearing opposition from only one person, the county commissioners voted unanimously Monday to extend a building moratorium in the Wakefield Valley area.
The ban will be extended from December untilFeb. 27 to give the county time to finish the approval process on a mineral mining plan.
Eleven people attended a 20-minute hearing at the County Office Building at which County Attorney Charles W. "Chuck" Thompson Jr. explained the ban.
The moratorium will not affect mining companies that own land in the area, he said. Nor will it affect landowners who can prove no commercially recoverable limestone exists on their property, he said.
It will prohibit further subdivision on land within a half-mile radius of the three mining areas, but won't stop landownersfrom obtaining building permits on land that's already been subdivided.
Daniel Meyers, a real estate agent with O'Conor Piper & Flynn in Westminster, spoke on behalf of a client who is trying to sell 136acres on Winters Church Road.
"They're most anxious to sell the property now, and this plan is hindering that sale," he said, adding that prospective buyers want to subdivide the land.
The county needs more time to finish a plan that outlines a zoning process in areas where mineral resources exist. The nine-member Mineral Resources Advisory Committee began work on the plan in January.
Last week, the group presented its plan to the Planning and Zoning Commission, which sent the document to surrounding counties as part of a 60-day review process.
The plan is meant to protect mineral resources while minimizing the effects of mining on neighbors.
David Duree, a spokesman for the New Windsor Community Action Project, suggested the county might need even more time to approve the plan because of the holiday season in December.
"We're in support of the concept here," he said. "I think there still will be some hurdles that inevitably will come up."
The commissioners approved the extension without any discussion.
The Arundel Corp., which owns land in Wakefield Valley, has agreed not to apply for permission to mine until March 1, by which time the mining plan should be in place, Thompson said.
Lehigh Portland Cement Co. has plans to begin digging a new quarry in New Windsorlater this year, and the moratorium should not affect its plans, he said.
Genstar Stone Products Inc. also operates a quarry in the area.