County considering mining law change

September 14, 1993

Carroll commissioners are considering a change to the county mining ordinance that would increase the distance mining operations must be from homes in the agriculture zone.

Yesterday, the commissioners heard from a Westminster resident who proposed the change and from representatives of two mining companies that would be affected.

No decision was made on the proposal.

Richard H. Offutt Jr., who lives in Wakefield Valley and is a member of the New Windsor Community Action Project, said the ordinance allows mining companies to build pits too close to homes in the agriculture zone.

The ordinance requires that mining operations be at least 200 feet from property lines in the agriculture zone and 400 feet from existing dwellings.

Mr. Offutt said he would like to see the setbacks increased to 700 feet and 1,000 feet, respectively.

Assistant Planning Director K. Marlene Conaway said the setbacks are a minimum standard that could be increased by the Planing Commission in specific cases.

David H. Roush, manager of the Lehigh Portland Cement Co. in Union Bridge, said increased setbacks would mean his company would lose the ability to quarry tons of stone.

Homeowners are protected by "performance standards," which are included in the ordinance and regulate noise, truck traffic, blasting and dust, he said.

George B. Brewer, president of the Maryland Aggregates Group of The Arundel Corp., said the ordinance allows the county "to exercise a lot of common sense and control over the quarries."

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