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Home » Issue Areas » Lehigh and Quarrying » Newspaper Articles » 2008

The construction of a conveyor system, Lehigh’s preferred plan for transporting rock from its New Windsor quarry to its Union Bridge plant, will require approvals from several boards at the county and state levels in order to get a necessary amendment to a conservation easement.

On Tuesday, officials from Lehigh Cement Co., county staff, representatives from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, a representative from the Office of the Governor, an attorney representing the landowner and the county attorney met to discuss the process of altering land preservation easements. Representatives from the New Windsor Community Action Project and the Historic Linwood Preservation also sat in on the meeting.

“It will take some time,” James Conrad, executive director of MALPF, said about the process. “It’s not something that will happen quickly.”

Within 10 years, Lehigh will need to begin transporting almost 4 million tons of limestone per year from the New Windsor quarry to its Union Bridge plant, said Kurt Deery, environmental engineer for Lehigh.

Deery said while the conveyor system is the company’s preferred option; it is still investigating transportation possibilities using trucks and rail. The transportation option that is selected would need to be in place in about five years, Deery said.

The 4.5-mile conveyor system would cut across agricultural land. The private landowner of 1 acre needed for part of the conveyor system will need to request an amendment to the property’s Rural Legacy easement. The other easement that would effected is held by the county, said Ralph Robertson, agricultural land preservation program manager for Carroll County.

During the evaluation MALPF will determine if the state and the public are receiving more by the request than it would be giving up, Conrad said.

Shaun Fenlon, director of land acquisition and planning for DNR, said because it is a complicated process, the agency wants to work with the stakeholders to provide possible options.

Both Fenlon and Conrad said amendments to easements are rare and are taken seriously since the implications could reach farther than an individual county.

The request is unlike others, Conrad said, because while there is a public interest, there is also potential for private gain.

Robertson said the purpose of the meeting was to provide information to all the stakeholders and to ensure everyone was on the same page about the requirements and the process.

“Nothing has happened yet,” Robertson said.

George Maloney, president of NEWCAP, said the nonprofit is also gathering information.

Maloney said a forum to provide information and get input from residents on the issue is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. July 24 at the Linwood Brethren Church.

“I haven’t developed an opinion myself. I don’t think it matters about me, it matters about the majority,” Maloney said.

If You Go:

  • What: New Windsor Community Action Project forum on Lehigh’s plans to transport rock from the New Windsor quarry to the Union Bridge plant
  • When: 7:30 p.m. July 24
  • Where: Linwood Brethren Church, 575 McKinstrys Mill Road

Steps in amendment process

- A letter requesting an amendment to the easement is sent by the landowner to the Carroll County Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board.

- The preservation advisory board investigates the situation and makes a recommendation to the Carroll County Board of Commissioners.

- If approved by the commissioners, the request is sent to the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation for review and approval.

- After receiving MALPF approval, the Rural Legacy Board, which includes the secretary of the Maryland Department of Planning, the secretary of the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, reviews the request.

- If the Rural Legacy Board approves the request, it would go before the Board of Public Works for final approval. The governor, comptroller and treasurer sit on the board.