Commissioners Call Mining Plan 'Good Compromise'

Acreage In Mining Zone Halved, To About 3,200 Acres

March 01, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff writer

The county commissioners called the mining plan they unanimously adopted Thursday "a good compromise."

"There's a little bit for everybody," Commissioner President Donald I. Dell said.

The plan, which takes effect March 1, will dictate where mining may occur in the county. Wakefield Valley-area residents, who live on or near the county's limestone deposits, generally have opposed the plan, saying it robs them of their property rights.

The commissioners softened the blow for landowners by halving the amount of land in the mining zone. The plan had designated about 6,400 acres to be included in a zone where land uses would be limited primarily to agriculture and mining.

The commissioners decided to include only land owned by the three mining companies in Carroll -- about 3,200 acres.

"That is one big concession," Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said.

The remaining land that had been proposed for the mining zone will be placed in a "viable resource area" in which development that would pre-empt mining will be forbidden.

If they do not want to mine, property owners in this area could cluster houses on a part of their land not underlaid by limestone. If their entire property sits on the mineral, they could sell the development rights for the lots to someone who could use the rights to build homes in another area of the county.

The plan requires that any prospective buyers of land within a half-mile of the mining zone be notified that the mining zone exists.

The commissioners also included a stipulation that mining may not occur within a half-mile of the town of New Windsor.

Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said there was much "give and take" among the board members.

"We've all been real concerned," she said.

Clark R. Shaffer, an attorney for the New Windsor Community Action Project, said members are "extremely displeased" about the plan. The group had advocated a "floating zone" for mining that members said would give the county more power to review applications for new mining operations.

David H. Roush, plant manager of Lehigh Portland Cement Co. in Union Bridge, said the half-mile setback from New Windsor will affect the quarry the company plans to open just south of the town.

"A half-mile is a lot of stone," he said.

Representatives of Genstar Stone Product Co., which operates a quarry in Medford, and The Arundel Corp.,which owns land in Wakefield Valley that it plans to mine, said theyneeded to study the plan before commenting.

The commissioners adopted the plan at a 10-minute session attended by about 30 people.

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