Cemex Site Gets Approval in Florida

Lake County, Fla., commissioners cleared the way for a sand mine in that will provide tons of building material for new roads and bridges. Commissioners ended years of debate over Cemex Construction Materials’ proposed mining operation by approving a permit to dig on property near Lake Louisa, south of Clermont, and by accepting on a 4-1 vote a settlement to end litigation with the company.

Cemex plans to mine about 526 acres of the 1,200-acre site, located about a mile southeast of U.S. Highway 27 and Schofield Road. Critics worried the sand mine would increase truck traffic and cause environmental damage to surrounding properties.

Commissioner Leslie Campione cited compromises by Cemex that improved the company’s original sand-mine proposal, calling many changes “big wins.” She pointed out the company has agreed to changes that will shield adjacent properties, protect a nearby U-pick blueberry farm and save clay trails preferred by runners and triathletes in training.

“Today’s action by the County Commission will allow Cemex to move forward and provide a much-needed sand resource to support infrastructure and other construction projects in Florida,” company spokesman Walker Robinson said. “The mine will provide additional jobs and tax benefits to Lake County. Cemex strives to be a good neighbor in the communities in which we live and operate, and we plan to work diligently to ensure this sand facility upholds Cemex’s commitment to environmental excellence.”

Colorado Judges Reverse Decision on Martin Marietta Plant

In August 2015, the board of Weld County, Colo., commissioners approved a use by special review permit for a Martin Marietta concrete and asphalt plant near U.S. 34 and Weld County Road 13. However, a three-judge Colorado Court of Appeals panel has unanimously reversed the board’s 2015 decision to allow the plant, according to the Greeley Tribune.

Judge Todd Taylor had ordered the commissioners to provide more findings of fact to support the 2015 decision. The commissioners did, focusing on five major issues:

  • Whether the commissioners erred in approving a use by special review application without competent evidence the proposed industrial use is consistent with existing surrounding uses.
  • Whether the commissioners erred in approving the USR application without competent evidence the applicants made diligent efforts to conserve prime farm land.
  • Whether the commissioners erred in approving a USR application where the uncontroverted evidence demonstrated the proposed industrial use would violate the applicable noise standard.
  • Whether the commissioners engaged in unlawful de facto spot zoning when they approved the USR application for a proposed industrial use that has no relationship to agriculture in the agricultural zone.
  • Whether the district court erred in refusing to order the record to be supplemented with all ex parte communications between the commissioners and the applicants while the USR application was on remand before the commissioners.

Vulcan Launches Website for Community Outreach

Responding to a backlash of public criticism over its proposed rock quarry at the corner of Farm-to-Market Road 3009 and State Highway 46, Vulcan Materials Co. opened up a website it hopes will educate and inform Comal County, Texas, residents.

“We’re still in the early stages of the project. Naturally, people have questions, which is why we set up a website –– for people to learn more about our team and our plans for Comal County,” said Clay Upchurch, Vulcan vice president. “We are committed to proving ourselves to be a responsible member of the community.” 

On the site, Vulcan states: “We are committed to investing in the future of Comal County and operating in a safe, socially and environmentally responsible manner. Our construction aggregates help grow and sustain communities, going into roads, bridges, residential and commercial buildings, schools, hospitals and places of worship.

“Located in one of the fastest growing large counties in the nation, the Comal Quarry is strategically positioned along Highway 46 to responsibly support the local economy and meet the growing community needs, including infrastructure and transportation safety improvements.

“Set on 1,500 acres, the project is uniquely designed to fit within the existing landscape and topography, including 600+ acres of buffer, setbacks and non-mining areas. We expect to mine only about 50 acres in the first 10 years, and it will take up to 80 years to reach completion.

“We will protect and conserve water resources: Rock will be extracted from the upper surface above the aquifer water table; water will be recycled; and Trinity Aquifer water usage will be far less than a residential subdivision use. We are committed to working with our neighbors, answering questions and being a responsible member of the community.”

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