Developer makes case for quarry Jessup operation would not harm community, he says

Gabbro would be mined

Some residents fear impact of traffic, blasting

January 05, 1996|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

The first in a series of public hearings on developer Kingdon Gould's proposal to establish a quarry in Jessup was mostly a one-man show -- the developer arguing his case.

For more than two hours last night, Mr. Gould addressed the Howard County Board of Appeals and a crowd of more than 100 residents. He promised that the quarry project would not have a negative impact on the area.

"We felt that we did not want to proceed with that operation without having a long-range plan for that area and without support of the state, of the Howard County government and in particular, the citizens in that area," Mr. Gould said.

He wants to quarry a crystalline rock called Baltimore gabbro on his "Chase Property" -- a 546-acre wooded site east of Interstate 95, west of U.S. 1 and south of Route 175. If all regulatory hurdles are cleared, mining could begin in two to three years. Baltimore gabbro, known for its hardness and uniform texture, is most often used for road construction.

In addition to the rock, the quarry might process and stockpile sand, gravel, clay and fill dirt. It could later house an asphalt plant.

Mr. Gould has support from some residents in the community of about 1,000 homes.

But opposition has been rising over the past few months because some residents fear the quarry will bring traffic problems and that tremors from blasting and dust will endanger the community and lower property values. They have circulated petitions against the quarry and are pleading with county officials to reject the proposal.

Hoping to better position themselves in the zoning battle, the residents -- organized as the Stop the Quarry Coalition -- have hired zoning attorney David A. Carney to represent them. The move has turned the case into a clash between Mr. Carney and Mr. Gould's attorney, Richard B. Talkin, considered the top zoning attorneys in the county.

The quarry is "probably the largest and most important case ever before this Board of Appeals," Mr. Carney said in his opening remarks.

He argued that a quarry did not belong near a residential area. The Jessup community "is quite different from where you find such operations. It's almost a dinosaur that we're dealing with today," Mr. Carney said.

The residents who attended the hearing -- about two-thirds opposed the quarry -- were hoping to express their positions on the project. But it may be several weeks before they have a chance to testify because of the long opening presentation expected from Mr. Talkin.

Mr. Talkin told the board that he plans to use at least three public hearings to present his case.

Mr. Gould, who spoke first, told the board how the quarry project originated and what he has promised residents in exchange for disrupting their lives.

The proposal originated in 1981 when the state Department of Natural Resources advised Mr. Gould that the Chase Property might be one of the last sources of Baltimore gabbro, Mr. Gould said. Since then, he has been meeting with Jessup residents in an effort to win their support.

He has promised them a 5,000-square-foot community center and, when quarrying is completed, parkland with a lake. He also pledged to give the community association 5 cents for every ton of Baltimore gabbro and any other mineral he mines at the site, which should net the group a minimum of $50,000 a year.

"We're committed to it," he told the board. "These commitments would be recorded in the land records and would become binding."

If the project is approved by local, state and federal authorities, excavation could begin in three years and last at least 20 years.

In November, the Howard County Planning Board voted 3-2 to recommend approval of the quarry, but board Chairman Theodore Mariani told Mr. Gould he must make a "good faith effort" to disrupt neighbors as little as possible and that he must promise to compensate them for any damage the operation caused to their property.

The Board of Appeals will hold its next public hearing on the issue Tuesday.

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