Foes lose fight on quarry impact studies Developer won't have to submit reports

February 09, 1996|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

Opponents of developer Kingdon Gould Jr.'s plans for a quarry in Jessup criticized the developer last night for refusing to submit impact studies of the project.

"If there was a report done, we have a right to see it," Connie Sapp, an attorney representing opponents, said at a Howard County Board of Appeals hearing.

Thomas M. Meachum, another attorney for opponents, said, "We just want the opportunity to digest what might be highly complicated and technical material."

Opponents lost that battle when the board ruled last night that Mr. Gould did not have to submit impact studies.

Board of Appeals Chairman George L. Layman told opponents that Mr. Gould will not be required to submit written reports as part of his petition. The developer will be allowed to rely on the testimony of his witnesses, Mr. Layman said.

Mr. Gould 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. Baltimore gabbro is used mostly for road construction because of its hardness and uniform texture.

In addition to the rock, Mr. Gould wants to stockpile sand, gravel, clay and fill dirt. The site also could house an asphalt plant.

Mr. Gould's first hurdle is to win approval from the county Board of Appeals, which approves zoning variances for such projects.

A growing number of residents in the some 1,000 homes near the proposed site opposed the project and have formed the Stop the Quarry Coalition. They fear that the quarry would bring traffic problems and that tremors from blasting and dust would endanger them and cause property values to plummet.

Last night, John C. Hall, a Columbia landscape architect who works for Mr. Gould, described the layout of the project and sought to assure opponents that the quarry would be safe for the community.

"I don't believe [it] will have a negative impact on the community," he said. "I think several of the reasons have to do with the nature of the site."

He said the property's size and the buffer of surrounding woods would help protect the community from noise. He said trucks would have access to the site from two roads to be built off U.S. 1.

But opponents remained critical.

"Why don't they submit reports?" said Jessup resident Tim Maier, one of the opposition leaders. "What are they afraid of?"

Jessup resident John McCord said he initially supported the quarry, but he expressed concern that the plans lack details to assure him that his property values wouldn't fall.

"We're scared to death that our property values are going to go through the floor," Mr. McCord said. "They can't give us any guarantee on our property at all."

The proposed project 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. Since then, Mr. Gould has been meeting with Jessup residents in an effort to win their support.

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