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Home » Issue Areas » Lehigh and Quarrying » Newspaper Articles » 2013

Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 12:15 am | Updated: 12:26 am, Wed Oct 30, 2013.

By Timothy Sandoval Times Staff Writer

New Windsor residents concerned with the proposed changes to the mining provisions of the county code have largely had their worries addressed by Lehigh Cement Co., which is looking to expand its quarry in the town and transport limestone via a conveyor belt to its plant in Union Bridge.

Concerns about what time of the day Lehigh would be allowed to store excavated materials and how far away reclamation piles would be from property lines and public roads initially had residents worried about the impacts of the changes sought by Lehigh, a cement manufacturer that employs many residents in the area.

But after discussions with residents about the proposed changes, Lehigh addressed most of the issues, residents said. The understanding comes as the county will hold a public hearing on the proposed changes Thursday at the Carroll County office building.

“They listened, and we listened, and the relationship at this point in time is pretty decent,” said Brian Mobley, chairman of the New Windsor Community Action Project, which was initially was concerned about the changes proposed by Lehigh to the mining provisions.

One of the areas of concern was the definition of “extractive operations.” Mobley said the changes proposed by Lehigh to the definition could have theoretically allowed the company to store excavated materials around the clock.

Mobley feared that noise and lights late at night could be a nuisance to those who live near the quarry.

But Lehigh will not work around the clock to store excavated materials, said Kent Martin, plant manager. He said the company will store excavated materials from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday — the same period they are allowed to perform other extractive work.

Another area of concern was how far away reclamation piles, which can be as high as 100 feet or more, would be from public roads and property lines, and whether landscape berms would be required to surround the piles to block them from view. Mobley was concerned that such fixtures would act as visual barriers to residents who live near the quarry.

But Martin said the piles will not have a very large visual impact for the area, and will there will be berms to block them, according to renditions the company has drawn up.

“We have studied the line of sight ... and there is little to no visual impact,” he said.

After viewing the renditions, Mobley said that he is no longer concerned and will be satisfied if Lehigh follows through with what they have proposed.

“They sent pictures and renditions of what they are trying to do to minimize that as an issue,” Mobley said of the concerns of the visual impact of the reclamation piles.

Mobley said he and a small group of residents would attend the meeting Thursday.

The plans for the expansion have been in discussion for five years, Martin said. He said the company has tried to keep the public involved in the planning process.

“As long as we are being open and transparent, I have found that ... is what is most important to gain acceptance,” Martin said.