Crofton civic group drops effort to thwart concrete-recycling plant

September 09, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

The Crofton Civic Association has decided not to appeal a state decision allowing a concrete and asphalt recycling plant on Route 3.

After months of negotiations that culminated in a hurried round of talks at the end of last week, the association directors convened in a rare holiday meeting Monday night and decided NTC the company had done enough to appease the community.

Town Manager Jordan Harding said representatives of E.L. Gardner Inc. agreed to new demands that the board insisted on at a meeting last Tuesday. Formal documents were signed yesterday.

The company already had agreed to establish an advisory committee, pave a dirt road leading into the plant, and conduct frequent air monitoring.

Mr. Harding said the company's vice president, Ronnie Gardner, has now agreed to train an employee in air-quality standards, pay attorney fees if Crofton sues the company and wins, and plant trees to shield nearby businesses from noise and dust.

"I think it's an excellent agreement," Mr. Harding said. "I'm sure neither side got everything it wanted, but negotiations are meant to be reasonable solutions."

The Maryland Department of the Environment gave E.L. Gardner preliminary approval in June to build the plant, which would recycle 20,000 tons of concrete and asphalt a year.

The permit was to be issued yesterday, which also was the last day Crofton could file an appeal.

Crofton officials have repeatedly complained that state environmental officials were unable to answer even basic questions at a May 13 public hearing.

Residents and local business owners packed the meeting and worried aloud about the noise and dust the plant would generate.

Last Tuesday , Crofton board members toured a similar recycling plant in Baltimore County.

"It was dirty as hell in and around the crusher," said Edwin Dosek, president of the Crofton Civic Association. "It was not a place I would like to work."

But he said he was impressed that the noise and dust diminished significantly just 1,000 feet from the crushing operation, which was described as three times as large as what E.L. Gardner plans.

Board member Jim Collett agreed. He compared the noise level inside the room where the crusher is operated as "not unlike a room with a loud rock band." But outside, "you could talk with great ease. It was not loud at all."

Last week, board members were concerned with how to ensure that the company would follow through on its agreement with the community and whether an appeal would be justified.

The appeal was not automatic. The state Office of Administrative Hearings decides whether the appeal has merit before sending it to an administrative law judge.

"What is the basis of our appeal other than we don't like it?" board member Ken Folstein said. "What is the likelihood that we would prevail?"

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