Quarry neighbor seeks increased setback in mining ordinance Resident asks commissioners to raise distance requirement

June 14, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

A Westminster attorney who lives adjacent to a Wakefield Valley quarry has asked the county to require that mining operations be farther away from property lines than the current ordinance dictates.

Richard H. Offutt Jr., a member of the New Windsor Community Action Project, asked the county commissioners Friday to change the county's mining ordinance that took effect March 1.

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said he would like to see one distance requirement increased, but not by as much as Offutt suggested.

Offutt's property is adjacent to a quarry operated by Genstar Stone Products Co. He said he submitted the amendments as an individual; the changes are not from NEWCAP.

"This absolutely affects my property," he said.

NEWCAP spokeswoman Linda Cunfer said she supports the changes.

The citizens group opposed the ordinance before it was passed in February, saying it didn't give the county enough power to review applications for new mining operations.

The ordinance regulates mining in the county and was written as a result of the demand for limestone in the Westminster-New Windsor-Union Bridge area.

Lippy said he and Commissioner Donald I. Dell visited several sites a few months ago to review the distance requirements.

After seeing the properties, Lippy said he would agree to increase from 200 to 400 feet the distance mining operations must be from adjoining property lines.

"I wanted to be a little more responsive to the folks in Wakefield Valley," he said.

Lippy said he wouldn't recommend changing other setbacks.

"All the rest are reasonable," he said.

Dell said he is satisfied with the 200-foot requirement but would listen to arguments to increase it.

Commissioner Julia W. Gouge was at a conference Thursday and Friday and could not be reached for comment.

Offutt asked for larger increases in the setbacks. Mining operations should be at least 700 feet from adjoining property lines and 1,000 feet from the principal building on the adjoining properties, he said.

He also asked that a discrepancy be eliminated. The ordinance says mining must be at least 700 feet from the nearest boundary of an area zoned for residential use.

Agriculturally zoned land should be included in this requirement because many homes are built on agricultural land, Offutt said.

"It's an artificial distinction, and it shouldn't be there," he said.

The commissioners probably will refer Offutt's amendment to the county Planning Commission for comments before taking any action.

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