Appeals board delays vote on Gould's planned quarry Power to enforce his pledges doubted

November 15, 1996|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

Worried that it had no authority to enforce developer Kingdon Gould's promises to Jessup residents, the Howard County Board of Appeals delayed a vote last night on Gould's proposal to set up a quarry in Jessup, dragging out one of the longest cases ever before the board.

"It's got a life of its own now," Richard B. Talkin, an attorney representing Gould, said of the 10-month-long quarry case. "It's like an amoeba."

The board stalled on the issue of a deal Gould made with residents in Jessup in which he promised to build a 5,000-square-foot community center and, when quarrying is completed, develop parkland with a lake.

He also has pledged to give the Ridgelys Run Community Association -- a group made up of residents who live near the proposed quarry and people who work for Gould -- 5 cents for every ton of Baltimore gabbro and any other mineral he mines at the 546-acre site east of Interstate 95, west of U.S. 1 and south of Route 175.

Gould made the promises to compensate for the burden the residents would bear if the quarry operated for 20 to 25 years, as planned.

Gould, a Washington parking lot magnate, plans to mine a crystalline rock called Baltimore gabbro that is known for its hardness and uniform texture and most often is 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.

The quarry pit would cover about 90 acres. The whole operation is expected to cover 300 acres.

If all county and state regulatory hurdles are cleared, Gould plans to start the project in two to three years. Mining is expected to last 20 to 25 years.

Gould and the Ridgelys Run Community Association have signed an agreement containing the promises. Gould must have a special exception from the board before he can dig a quarry in Howard County.

Board members tentatively supported the project during a meeting earlier this week, but they struggled to find a way to include Gould's promises in the list of criteria used to decide whether to grant a special exception.

"I don't think you have the authority" to require Gould to keep his promises to the community, said Tom Carbo, a county attorney who advises the board.

Jerry Rushing, who sits on the board, said one of the criteria is that the project cannot have an adverse affect on the community. Rushing said Gould's promises might address that issue.

"This is minimizing the impact on the community," he said.

Board member Evelyn Tanner disagreed. "It's not part of the criteria. It's not what we're here to decide," she said.

"I have a problem getting into this, too," said George Layman, the board's chairman.

Board members decided to review Gould's agreement with the community individually and continue collective deliberations Thursday.

The hearings have been drawn out by opposition to the project from some residents worried about health, safety, traffic and noise problems that might result from the quarry. The opponents also fear that the operation would hurt their property values.

The proposal originated in 1981, when the state Department of Natural Resources advised Gould that the Chase Property might be one of the last sources of Baltimore gabbro.

Pub Date: 11/15/96

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