AUSTIN QUARRY APPROVED • STABLER POINT ROCK QUARRY EXPANDS • CANADIAN QUARRY FACES COMMUNITY OPPOSITION • INDIANA SUPREME COURT REFUSES AMERICUS CASE
AUSTIN QUARRY APPROVED
After a lengthy, standing-room-only special board meeting that drew heated comments from both supporters and opponents, the Madera, Calif., County board of supervisors approved the controversial Austin Quarry, an aggregate-mining project proposed by Vulcan Materials.
According to The Business Journal, following the 11-hour hearing, the vote was 3-2 in favor of the project, which is expected to create 40 to 50 permanent jobs during its 100-year lifespan, mining up to 2.5 million tons of aggregate annually. Vulcan will pay a fee per each ton of material transported that would add up to about $250,000 for local road improvements at full production.
Vulcan has responded to concerns from opponents by vowing to make improvements to alleviate traffic on Highways 41 and 145. The company also agreed to create sight and sound buffers and set aside a large part of the 671-acre quarry site for open space and natural wetlands.
Addressing water concerns, Vulcan will import the 85 acre-ft. of water a year the project will use for a zero-net impact.
Stabler Point Rock Quarry Expands
The Juneau, Alaska, planning commission approved a conditional use permit for the expansion of the city-owned Stabler Point Rock Quarry. Last year was the busiest year on record for the rock quarry, which is located near the Ferry Terminal in Auke Bay, according to the Juneau Empire.
Private developers and the city mined more than 470,000 tons of rock from the quarry, accounting for nearly one quarter of all the rock mined since the city began operating the quarry 15 years ago.
With it’s new conditional use permit, the quarry will be able expand up the hill on which it sits, providing access to an additional 2.3 million tons of rock. According to the city’s Lands and Resources Manager Greg Chaney, this is necessary for future development.
Canadian Quarry Faces Community Opposition
According to Guelph Today, a potentially lengthy Ontario Municipal Board hearing into a proposed quarry just outside of Rockwood, Ontario, Canada, began Sept. 20, and could last several weeks. James Dick Construction Ltd. wants to put a quarry at the corner of Highway 7 and 6th Line Eramosa, just on the Acton side of Rockwood. It is seeking to have the property re-zoned from agricultural to industrial/extractive.
The company has said it plans to extract up to 700,000 tpy over a 17-year period from an open pit. The Concerned Residents Coalition citizens group, the Town of Halton Hills and the Regional Municipality of Halton are parties opposing the proposal. Guelph Eramosa Township and the Town of Milton have voiced objections but are not registered as parties at the OMB hearing.
Concerns from opponents of the project include that the quarry is too close to the town, would create excessive traffic flow on Highway 7, and it will have a negative effect on the water table.
Indiana Supreme Court Refuses Americus Case
The Indiana Supreme Court will not hear legal arguments over a stone quarry proposal in Americus, Ind. Attorneys for the Rogers Group and Tippecanoe County both asked the court to hear the case, according to WLFL. The Rogers Group tried to get approval for the quarry in 2014, which set-off a community backlash.
The Tippecanoe County commissioners passed an ordinance banning mining within two miles of 100 homes, which blocked the Americus quarry. The Rogers Group then sued unsuccessfully. It went to the Court of Appeals, which upheld half the lower court ruling and revoked the other half. The Appeals Court ruled the county’s ordinance was invalid, but did uphold the Tippecanoe County Board of Zoning Appeals’ special exception required for mining operations in a flood plain.
Both sides then asked the Indiana Supreme Court to hear the case. The Supreme Court declined.