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Quarry plan upsets Wakefield Valley


Neighbors of two quarries proposed by The Arundel Corp. said Thursday that the company and the county are pushing the project through without considering their complaints.

Many of the Wakefield Valley residents were angry.

"Will you please take that quarry away and put it in someone else's neighborhood?" said Karl G. Koontz, a 37-year resident whose house in the 1400 block of Stone Chapel Rd. overlooks the Genstar Stone Products Co. quarry adjacent to the Arundel property.

"This is an ancient contention -- industry vs. residents," he said. "Where is the middle ground?"

But Mr. Koontz -- and other neighbors bothered by noise, dust, trucks and obstructed views -- admitted he's not interested in the middle ground.

"I think Arundel should go to Pennsylvania," said Jim Thompson of the 1400 block of Nicodemus Road. "I don't think the county is taking care of us, and I don't think Arundel is taking care of us."

Arundel wants the limestone that is plentiful in Wakefield Valley.

The company hired two air-conditioned buses for a three-hour afternoon tour and rented a conference room at the Comfort Inn in Westminster for an evening meeting to explain its mining plan to the residents.

A county mining law that took effect March 1 requires companies give a tour and sponsor a community meeting as an initial step toward receiving approval to mine.

Arundel is the first company to test the law.

About 35 people took the tour and about 50 came to the meeting.

Arundel wants first to dig a 40-acre quarry on the 127-acre Reichlin property at Nicodemus and Brick Church roads. When that site is depleted -- probably in 10 years -- the company wants to dig an 80-acre pit on the nearby 277-acre Hughes property.

Mr. Thompson said Nicodemus Road could not handle truck traffic generated by another quarry.

George B. Brewer, president of Arundel's Maryland Aggregates Group in Sparks, Baltimore County, said the Wakefield Valley quarry probably would generate 20 truck trips per hour during a 10-hour work day.

Trucks would use Nicodemus Road for trips between Route 31 and both the Reichlin and Hughes sites.

County Commissioner President Donald I. Dell -- the only commissioner who attended the meeting -- agreed that the road couldn't handle the increased traffic.

Mr. Dell said Arundel Corp. should be required to make road improvements before it could open the first quarry.

Lehigh Portland Cement Co. also plans to open a quarry in the New Windsor area, and many residents worry that all three companies pumping water as they dig quarries will deplete the valley's water supply.

Mr. Brewer showed the residents drawings and aerial photos of the proposed mining area and pointed out where berms could be built to shield processing equipment and help absorb noise.

And he said the company will post a bond with the county to replace wells if they go dry within a "zone of influence" that is yet to be determined.

The company doesn't expect to begin work at the Reichlin site for at least two years because it will take that long to get the necessary state and county permits, Mr. Brewer said.

The county Planning Commission will consider comments made at Thursday's meeting and recommend changes to Arundel's initial site plan.

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