Owner tells residents of quarry plan

April 01, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

Washington businessman Kingdon Gould told a group of Jessup area residents last night that he has no intention of getting into a "knock-down, drag-out" zoning battle with them in his efforts to develop a quarry operation in their community.

"I've lived on Murray Hill Road since 1951 and I consider myself your neighbor," Mr. Gould told a group of about 55 people who went to Guilford Elementary School to learn about his proposal to develop a quarry on a 600-acre wooded site in Jessup.

"You really control whether we go forward. We're not going to start a knock-down, drag-out zoning fight. We'll pass if the landowners think this isn't going to be good," he said.

Mr. Gould has proposed developing the quarry on land he owns, known as the Chase property. The land is located between Interstate 95 and U.S. 1, north of Guilford Road.

According to the proposal, up to 100 acres of the property would be mined for a rock known as Baltimore gabbro, used primarily for road construction.

In an effort to sell the idea to area homeowners, Mr. Gould is offering to pay for a variety of recreational amenities which would be built on unmined portions of the Chase parcel. Possibilities include an 18-hole golf course, a swim club and soccer fields.

After the mining operation is completed in 15 to 20 years, the property would be turned into a lake, under the proposal.

If the quarry is approved, Mr. Gould said he hopes to form the "Chase Association," comprising elected members from the nearby communities, including Heritage Woods, Guilford and Villa Heights. The group would monitor the quarry operations and, with Mr. Gould, would decide how the land surrounding the quarry would be used.

As additional incentives to enlist community support, Mr. Gould said he would consider setting up a foundation, financed by quarry profits, to make small-business loans to area residents. .. He also mentioned the possibility of scholarships for students in nearby neighborhoods.

The quarry operation would create about 300 jobs and priority in hiring would be given to area residents, Mr. Gould said.

Despite promises of amenities, business opportunities and education, some homeowners aren't convinced that a quarry would improve their quality of life. They expressed concern about noise and dust pollution, potential health problems and the effect on property values.

Heritage Woods resident Rosemary Ford said she was concerned about the presence of crystalline silica in dust created by quarry operations.

Ms. Ford said that she recently read an article in The Wall Street Journal about residents living near a quarry in California who believe they developed cancer because of exposure to quarry dust.

Tim Schmidt, who works at Laurel Sand and Gravel, a quarry operation owned by Mr. Gould, said that the quarry dust would be controlled by a system which involves spraying it with water mist, then collecting the dust and reusing the water.

The dust would be buried in a dirt berm, which would be built around the quarry site, Mr. Schmidt said.

Samuel Young, who's lived on Mission Road in Guilford for 41 years, was skeptical about Mr. Gould's claims that quarry blasting would cause virtually no disruption.

"If you blast, I don't care how far away it is. It's going to be noisy and you're going to get shaking of your house," said Mr. Young.

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