Hostility toward plant hardens Finksburg neighbors muster opposition to concrete operation

February 27, 1996|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

Neighbors of a proposed Finksburg concrete plant say they plan to turn out in force tomorrow to ask the county's zoning appeals board to scuttle the project.

Toma Concrete and Materials Inc. of Harrisburg, Pa., is seeking approval for a concrete plant on a 12.6-acre industrial property, owned by Carroll County Terminals Inc., in the 2600 block of Emory Road.

"We bought out here 12 years ago. We've got a lovely home here," said Hollingsworth Road resident Mildred Hummel. She is worried that the concrete plant would decrease the value of her property by bringing noise and truck traffic to the neighborhood.

Mrs. Hummel said a flier circulated in the neighborhood last weekend alerting residents about the plan and encouraging them to attend the Board of Zoning Appeals hearing. She said the flier listed concerns about noise from large conveyor belts and truck traffic.

Neighbors say they were told that the proposed concrete plant would be a 24-hour-a-day operation, but Toma officials said that is incorrect.

The plant will operate at "reasonable hours" five days a week and, if demand warrants, on Saturday mornings, said George M. Sherman, Toma's operations manager.

"We want to be good citizens of the community. That's the way we operate and always have," Mr. Sherman said. He estimated that the plant would generate five to 10 maintenance, equipment-operation and truck-driving jobs.

Mr. Sherman said the operation at Finksburg would involve adding stone, sand, cement and water to concrete-mixer trucks. He estimated truck traffic at an average of 25 trips a day.

Attorney David K. Bowersox, who represents Toma, said corporate officials had not tried to meet with neighbors about their plans but had sent a letter inviting them to call him or Mr. Sherman with questions. Both said they had received no calls.

Neil M. Ridgely, a resident of the Finksburg area who is Hampstead's town manager, sent a letter asking the appeals board to require a landscape buffer between the industrial property and residences.

"The Finksburg area will continue to grow both commercially and residentially. For the two uses to be compatible, there must ei

ther be a vast separation or sufficient landscaping to provide an adequate sense of separation which will allow both land users the full enjoyment and value of their properties," Mr. Ridgely wrote.

Under county zoning rules, a concrete plant is a conditional use and must be approved by the appeals board. In addition, the owners are asking for approval to build the plant closer to neighboring properties than the distance called for in the county zoning ordinance.

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