Amenities offered to win support for Jessup mining plan NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE


February 12, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

Washington businessman Kingdon Gould Jr. is considering a proposal to develop a quarry on a 600-acre wooded site in Jessup -- but only if nearby residents would support the idea.

The parcel, known as the Chase property, is located between Interstate 95 and U.S. 1, north of Guilford Road. Mr. Gould is proposing to mine up to 100 acres of the property for a rock known as Baltimore gabbro, used primarily for road construction.

Mr. Gould, who has been meeting with area residents to hear their concerns, said he sees the quarry proposal as an opportunity to bring industrial use to an urban area in a positive way.

"We're in the process of a dialogue to determine how the project can be developed to create amenities for the surrounding neighborhoods," Mr. Gould said. Nearby communities include the Heritage Woods development, Guilford, Villa Heights and the future development of Pleasant Chase.

Noting that the quarry site is a large, wooded area, Mr. Gould is sweetening the proposal by offering to pay for a variety of amenities, including an 18-hole golf course, nature walks, jogging and horseback-riding trails, soccer fields, a driving range and a swim club on the portion of the property that would not be mined. The amenities to be provided would be chosen by area residents.

In addition, the proposal includes a number of measures designed to minimize the impact of the mining operations on surrounding homes, said Mr. Gould's lawyer, Richard B. Talkin.

At the beginning of the project, about 23 acres of woods along Mission Road would be designated for park uses, and other areas would be preserved as green space to provide a buffer to the mining operation, Mr. Talkin said.

After the mining is completed in about 15 to 20 years, the property would be reforested and the quarry would be turned into a lake.

If nearby residents refuse to support the quarry proposal, Mr. Talkin said the property probably would be developed as an industrial park, for which it is zoned.

Mr. Gould said that state officials approached him two years ago with the idea of converting his property into a quarry, after learning that it contains extensive gabbro deposits.

In 1991 Torrey C. Brown, secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, wrote Mr. Gould saying that the Jessup property may be the only remaining source of gabbro in the state.

Mr. Gould said he would agree to develop the site as a quarry, provided environmental groups and surrounding neighborhoods approved the idea.

Officers in the Heritage Woods Homeowners' Association who have attended meetings with Mr. Gould and his representatives said they're impressed with the developer's attempts to keep the community informed about the project.

"When people first hear about it they say 'I'm against it' without knowing anything about it," said Paul J. Snyder, treasurer of the association. "The more people learn, the less opposed people become to it. That seems to be the trend."

A visit to another quarry operated by Mr. Gould in Woodsboro in Frederick County helped Mr. Snyder decide to support the Jessup project. Mr. Snyder said he hardly heard the quarry blasts that occurred during his visit and that he only felt a "split-second" of vibration on the ground.

According to a report prepared by consultants hired by Mr. Gould, blasting activity will occur for less than five minutes per month during quarry operations.

Truck traffic from the quarry would use only U.S. 1 and roads that would be built on the mining property. Trucks would have no access to other local roads, according to the consultant's report.

The proposal calls for the preservation of existing woods as noise buffers and the construction of a noise reduction berm around the quarry site.

Despite the promise of outdoor amenities and minimal disruption to homeowners' quality of life, some residents are not sold on the idea. Heritage Woods resident Marilyn Irwin says she's worried that a quarry operation would bring down property values, create noise and dust and possibly cause damage to homes.

"I'm sorry, I'm suspicious of someone that wants to give you all this stuff. I think there's a lot that he wants to take away from us," Mrs. Irwin said. She criticized some of the the officers of the Heritage Woods Homeowners' Association for supporting the quarry proposal, saying that residents who oppose the idea are just starting to organize.

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