Commissioners Seek More Citizen Input On Mining Plan

But Proposal Doesn't Need Major Overhaul, Board Members Say

February 12, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff writer

The county's three commissioners said they want more citizen input before making a decision about a proposed mineral mining plan, but agreed Monday the plan doesn't need a major overhaul.

The board met Monday and Tuesday with planners to discuss the plan, written by a nine-member citizens committee with county staff help the last 13 months.

"I'm really disillusioned because so many people worked so hard to come up with a product almost nobody likes," Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said. "If we scrapped the whole thing, could a state agency make mining work here in the county?"

Later, he said he's not leaningtoward dropping the plan, but said it is an option.

Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said the plan "is something we have to have."

The proposed plan provides residents "significant protections" that we do not have, said planner Gregg Horner.

The plan would create a zone where mining of Wakefield marble could occur and where other land uses, such as residential development, would be pre-empted.

Many residents of Wakefield Valley -- where most of the mar

ble is located -- have opposed the plan because they believe their property values will fall.

Lippy said the county isn't obligated "to preserve anyone's view."

Commissioner Donald I. Dell said he had reservations about the plan because of residents' concerns, but said planners' responses have satisfied him.

Residents in the mining zone would not lose their right to create lots on their property, but would be allowedto cluster them in areas without marble, Horner said.

If a resident's entire property is underlaid by marble, he could sell development rights for the lots to a builder who would transfer the rights to aresidential area in another part of the county, he said.

Gouge asked whether many of the residents' complaints about living near a mining operation would persist under the proposal.

"Aren't we creating some potential for the problems we have right now?" she asked.

The difference would be that the plan would include regulations requiring mining operations to be certain distances from homes and towns. That would place certain restrictions on the operations, said K. Marlene Conaway, assistant planning director.

The commissioners said they are willing to listen to an alternate plan from the New Windsor Community Action Project.

A public hearing on the plan is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at Francis Scott Key High in Uniontown.

AT A GLANCE

* Event: County mining plan public hearing

* Time/date: 7 p.m. Thursday

* Location: Francis Scott Key High, Bark Hill Road, Uniontown

* Information: 848-4500

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