Board tours Woodsboro quarry Gould seeking OK for Jessup operation

July 19, 1996|By Ivan Penn JTC | Ivan Penn JTC,SUN STAFF

It was a show-and-tell session for the Howard County Board of Appeals, and developer Kingdon Gould's rocks were on display -- crushed rocks, rock piles and rocks at the bottom of a deep pit, waiting to be mined.

Eager to demonstrate that a proposed quarry in Jessup would not disrupt the community, Gould's representatives shepherded board members through Gould's quarry in Frederick County this week, highlighting measures taken to prevent that operation from being a nuisance.

"You can talk about it all you want," said Richard B. Talkin, an attorney representing Gould, "but you really need to get out and see it."

The Monday tour of Gould's 128-acre limestone quarry in Woodsboro was the latest twist in Gould's long-running push to win approval for a quarry on a 546-acre wooded site he owns in Jessup.

Hearings began in January on the proposed Jessup quarry and are expected to conclude next month.

Gould wants to quarry a crystalline rock called Baltimore gabbro, which is known for its hardness and uniform texture. Baltimore gabbro hasn't been produced in Maryland for at least 15 years and is likely to be profitable for Gould.

Crushed stone in Maryland usually sells for about $6.7 million per million metric tons, said Bob Drake, an editor with Rock Products magazine. The Jessup operation is expected to mine 1 million to 2 million tons of rock a year.

Opponents of the proposed Jessup operation fear it would bring such problems as dust and blasting damage to their homes, harming their health and hurting their property values.

To get an idea of what Gould's quarrying operations are like, board members agreed to Monday's visit at the Frederick County site, where they asked questions in a drizzle.

The limestone mined in Frederick County, although a softer rock than gabbro, also is used for road construction. But whatever rock is being mined, Talkin and others say, the amounts of dust and blasting are about the same.

Two to three times a week, workers at the Frederick operation fire a blast into a roughly 30-acre pit, much smaller than the 90-acre pit proposed at the Jessup quarry.

Before each blast, a siren blares. Then comes a brief, subterranean rumble. A plume of white and yellow smoke fills the air, chasing pigeons.

"That's it," Talkin said. "No big deal."

Noise from the operation is reduced by 20-foot berms that surround the quarry.

"You can hear the road, but you can't hear the quarry," said

George Layman, chairman of the Board of Appeals.

Ruby Ambrose, who has lived near the operation for 12 years, said she has few complaints, aside from having the berms so close to her house.

"It just annoys you when you have to see this pile of dirt all the time," Ambrose said of the berm. "But other than the blasting shaking everything, I don't have any other complaints."

Woodsboro resident Margaret Lebhersz said, "It's been fine. All in all, we're very satisfied."

Pub Date: 7/19/96

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