The Arundel Corp. will submit plans to the county in three to six months to dig a limestone quarry in Wakefield Valley, a company official said.
"We are busy at work now preparing that information," saidGeorge B. Brewer, president of the company's Maryland Aggregates Group, based in Sparks, Baltimore County.
After plans are submitted to the county and state, it will be at least two years before Arundel can begin work at the site if its plans are approved, he said.
County Planning Director Edmund R. Cuemansaid, "It will be a long, involved and extended review at the countylevel, as well as the state level."
Arundel has been trying for years to obtain permission to mine its 330 acres between Wakefield Valley and Bowersox roads. Its attempts to get the proper zoning for theland resulted in a three-year legal battle that reached the state's highest court.
Arundel won its legal fight when the court ruled inits favor last August. The Court of Appeals ruled that county administrators erred when retroactively applying a new zoning law to Arundel -- a move the company said would have cost it at least $500,000.
After the court victory, the company still could not submit plans tothe county because the county commissioners had passed a moratorium on new subdivisions within a half-mile radius of mining areas in Wakefield Valley until a comprehensive mining plan was approved.
Last month, the commissioners approved a plan giving Arundel the zoning itneeded to go ahead with plans to mine.
A New Windsor citizens group and many neighbors vehemently opposed the plan, saying it makes ittoo easy for mining companies to obtain permission to mine.
Richard H. Offutt Jr., who lives on Wakefield Valley Road one house away from Arundel's property, said he will continue to oppose Arundel's plans to mine.
Offutt, a Westminster attorney and member of the New Windsor Community Action Project, said he doesn't believe Arundel willbe "a good neighbor."
He and other neighbors have talked to Arundel officials about the company's plans, but he said he was not reassured that the company would consider neighbors' requests for buffers.
Brewer said he and other company officials met with neighbors in their homes in a series of about 25 meetings in November, December andJanuary.
"We tried to understand their concerns" and explain the regulations the company must comply with, he said.
The meetings were an opportunity "to try to find some commonground," Brewer said, adding that many neighbors were fearful of the company's plans because they did not know enough about them.
Arundel's property is adjacent to land owned by Genstar Stone Products Co., which operates a quarry there. Arundel land is surrounded on three sides by Genstar's property, Brewer said.
Neighbors have complained that blasting at the Genstar quarry has broken windows, cracked sidewalks and done other damage to their homes. They also have complained about noise and truck traffic from the quarry and have expressed concerns that their property values have dropped because they live near a mine.
Arundel wants to dig two pits on its land, the first on a 126-acre parcel off Nicodemus Road, Brewer said. The second would be on a parcel of about 200 acres off Wakefield Valley Road.
Arundel engineers are working on site plans, and the company is taking bids from drillers for prospecting work, he said.