Board permits mining by sand, gravel business

January 06, 1995|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Sun Staff Writer

A Brooklyn Park sand and gravel company can start mining nine acres of its land between Hammonds Lane and Belle Grove Road, thanks to a county board of appeals decision yesterday.

The board ruled that the parcel was erroneously zoned for single-family residential use, which does not permit sand and gravel operations. The panel held that the land should have been zoned residential-agricultural, which allows sand and gravel operations, and granted the exceptions that allow Belle Grove Corp. to begin mining the land.

"There was clearly a mistake in the zoning map for this property," the board said.

The board held that the property, part of a 50.4-acre parcel, was supposed to have been zoned RA, or residential agricultural, by the County Council during comprehensive rezoning in 1988, but that zoning maps were marked for the single-family residential use in error.

The board said the sand and gravel operation should be allowed because the property is between two parcels already used for mining and is near similar businesses.

The ruling overturns an Oct. 25 decision by Robert C. Wilcox, the county's administrative hearing officer, who held that the company could not prevent water from running off onto nearby residential streets.

The board attached four conditions before it would allow the operation to start in the 4000 block of Belle Grove Road.

It required that the entire operation be surrounded by fences at least 6 feet high; that the entrance to the access road on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard be widened to 35 feet; that part of the road be paved and kept free of dirt and debris; and that the hours of operation be limited to 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 8 a.m.. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

Those conditions were little consolation to Owen Langford Jr., who has lived on Charles Road for 25 years with his wife, Constance. Their home is downhill from Belle Grove's site.

"I'm very disappointed, and I just think it was a very unfair decision and that they didn't take into consideration the homeowners who have to live down here with that decision," said Mr. Langford, who represented the Patapsco Park Improvement Association at the board's hearings.

He said runoff has caused serious erosion in the neighborhood and in his yard. At times, the water has narrowed Belle Grove Road to one lane and caused traffic jams. Trucks coming in and out of the company's property cause traffic backups and bring mud, dirt and debris onto the roadway, he said.

Bruce Jones, vice president of Belle Grove Corp., said his company would continue working with the residents to address their concerns.

Daniel Werner, a civil engineer, testified during the appeals hearings that water would have to flow uphill from Belle Grove's property to bother the neighbors.

He said the community has a high water table and that excavation at Belle Grove's site could lower the water table by allowing water to penetrate through the clay surface.

The board wrote that it was not convinced the company was solely to blame for the runoff problem residents were experiencing.

Mr. Jones said his company has begun reclamation work on 25 of the 50 acres. The reclamation of the rest of the site is to be finished in five to eight years, he said.

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