Quarry opponents continue their fight Developer's plan for Jessup draws fire at hearing

June 28, 1996|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

Opponents of a proposed quarry in Jessup continued their fight against the project last night, arguing before the Howard County Board of Appeals that the mining operation will exacerbate traffic problems on troubled U.S. 1.

With charts and traffic statistics she prepared at her "kitchen table," Jessup resident Judy McCleaf attacked developer Kingdon Gould's proposal to quarry rock on a 546-acre wooded site he owns in Jessup.

"This is only going to increase the number of accidents," McCleaf said of the expected 400 trucks that will haul rock from the quarry each day.

"You indicated that you have concern about accidents on U.S. 1. Do you have any information about the causes of accidents on Route 1?" asked Gould attorney Richard B. Talkin, trying to discredit McCleaf's testimony.

Talkin said that if the quarry is not approved, the land could be developed for high-density housing, which could generate as many as 16,000 vehicles a day. "You believe that would be better?" he asked.

The hearings began six months ago -- one of the longest proceedings ever at the Board of Appeals. Last night's hearing also included testimony from a resident who supports the quarry but was unable to testify before the proponents had completed their case.

Gould, who owns quarries in Prince George's and Frederick counties, wants to mine a crystalline rock called Baltimore gabbro on a site he owns east of Interstate 95, west of U.S. 1 and south of Route 175.

Baltimore gabbro is known for its hardness and uniform texture and is most often used for road construction. Gould also plans to stockpile sand, gravel, clay and fill dirt at the site, which later could be used for an asphalt plant.

The proposal has residents such as McCleaf concerned about noise, truck traffic and dust. They fear their health will be damaged and their property values will plummet. Opponents have formed the Stop the Quarry Coalition.

But other residents, including Ross Dangel, who testified last night, support the quarry. They say the quarry isn't going to be much of a problem and have been urging the board to approve the project.

"I don't have a hard time saying less trucks are better," Dangel told the board. But "the quarry is a better option" than having high-density housing and thousands of vehicles on busy U.S. 1.

Besides, Dangel said, Gould has made a good offer to the community.

In exchange for residents' accepting the planned 25-year operation, Gould, a Washington parking lot magnate, has promised them a 5,000-square-foot community center and, when quarrying is completed, parkland and a lake on the site.

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.

But McCleaf and others still say that no amount of money is worth the problems the quarry could exacerbate and cause.

The next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 1.

Pub Date: 6/28/96

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