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Home » Issue Areas » Lehigh and Quarrying » Newspaper Articles » 2006

Posted: Tuesday, April 4, 2006 12:00 am

By Carrie Ann Knauer, Times Staff Writer

Six months after the document was drafted, New Windsor has signed an agreement with Lehigh Cement on how the company will operate its new quarry south of town.

New Windsor Mayor Sam Pierce signed the letter of understanding March 27, while Lehigh Cement plant manager Peter Lukas signed the agreement Sept. 21, 2005. The document was drafted after several community meetings held last summer by the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office to address residents' concerns about how Lehigh's new quarry would affect residents' quality of life.

After the MACRO-hosted meeting in August, residents thought the town and Lehigh were in agreement and would soon sign the letter of understanding. However, several residents who had been part of the environmental group CarrollAir learned in early March that the town had never signed the agreement.

Councilman Neal Roop said some Town Council members did not believe it was within the council's power to tell a business located outside of town how it can operate. The council was also concerned that this was not a legally binding document, he said, and thus did not understand the point of signing it.

Several New Windsor residents attended the Town Council meeting March 1 and urged the council to sign the document as a good-faith effort by Lehigh to take residents' concerns into consideration. Pierce said the council discussed the letter of understanding at its March work session and decided to sign it.

"We just decided we'd had enough of the meetings," Roop said.

MACRO had scheduled another public meeting for Monday to help New Windsor and Lehigh come to terms.

Roop said he still believes the document is not legally binding, but he does believe Lehigh will work to be good neighbors to New Windsor residents.

Lukas said he was excited when he met with Pierce last week to pick up the signed document.

"It's a step ahead now," Lukas said.

While it is Lukas's signature on the document, the whole Lehigh company is committed to working in cooperation with the surrounding community, Lukas said.

That statement may be tested when the Union Bridge Lehigh plant receives a new plant manager. Lukas said he recently learned he will be transferred to another Heidelberg Cement facility in the United Kingdom, probably this summer.

"My plans were to stay here for five years," Lukas said. "But the company has a need for me elsewhere."

Lukas said he would stay to train his successor, who has not been named. Lukas said he is very proud of the work he has accomplished in Carroll County and will be sorry to move on. Lukas has been plant manager in Union Bridge for three years.

Reach staff writer Carrie Ann Knauer at 410-857-7874 or

New Windsor and Lehigh Letter of Understanding

Truck Traffic

    Lehigh agrees the trucking company carrying quarried rock from New Windsor to York, Pa., will follow Md. 31 to Md. 407, then north on Md. 27 on to Kate Wagner Road, south on Md. 32 and north on Md. 97, west on Md. 140 and then back on Md. 27 north. Trucks will not go through the town of New Windsor or Westminster city when going to or returning from York.

    Lehigh agrees that any truck driver employed or contracted to haul rock from New Windsor to York will be required to sign an agreement that they will only use the agreed upon route. Truck drivers found off-route will be given a three-strikes rule, and after a third offense will be barred from working at the New Windsor quarry.

    The town agrees that if any citizen believes a truck is in violation of the agreed route, they need to call Lehigh, identify themselves and report the number of the truck as well as the date, time and location the truck was observed so Lehigh can investigate.

Air Quality

    The town and Lehigh agree that site monitors are not necessary and that anyone who has a concern about a possible violation of the air permit should call the Maryland Department of the Environment at 410-537-3215 during the day or 866-633-4686 at night.

    All agree that reduction of emissions from the diesel trucks transporting the stone is an important goal. The trucking company will absorb some of the cost for retrofitting its own trucks and will work with CarrollAir to pursue grants for retrofitting the trucks.


    Lehigh agrees to replace any well damaged by quarry activities within the specified zone of influence included in a previous agreement. Lehigh also agrees to replace any well outside of the zone of influence if the MDE determines through a hydrogeological study that Lehigh caused the damage.

Hours of Operation

    Lehigh agrees operations will be between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and, when necessary, on Saturday.

    Lehigh agrees to print a schedule of blasting each year in the local and Baltimore newspapers. In addition, they agree to give notice to local citizens by posting the blasting schedule at an easily accessible location.

Dealing with Continuing or Future Issues

    Lehigh agrees to continue its policy encouraging citizens to contact them directly about issues of concern. The town and Lehigh agree to consider mediation for any future issues that may arise.