Thursday, November 7, 2013
In the end it was about big business taking the time to work, both with local government and members of the community.
On Oct. 28, Berkeley County Council unanimously approved the Martin-Marietta request for expansion of its limestone quarry in Jamestown.
“This has been a rather lengthy rezoning process,” said Eric Greenway. “Martin Marietta has agreed to abide by the self-imposed restrictions and covenants.”
Greenway said the county was able to define what constitutes mining operations through discussions with the attorneys and management from Martin Marietta. Also settled over the course of the three readings were several citizens’ concerns such as hours of operation, safety standards, and noise levels during blasting.
Martin Marietta has committed to abide by the hours of operation 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The limestone mining company has also committed to building an earthen berm to provide a buffer around the quarry property line on a three-to-one ratio.
According to Greenway, the county also worked with Martin Marietta to conduct blasting noise tests and consistently the noise levels were far below the listed levels for the zoned area.
“Martin Marietta in my opinion has done everything they’ve been asked to do,” Greenway said. “I applaud their efforts in working with the community and the county.”
Steve Davis, who represents District 8, which includes Jamestown, also praised the effort of cooperation between Martin Marietta and local residents.
“I want to applaud the citizens who diligently fought for these conditions,” he said. “It was always been my process not to tamper with the Planning Commission. They approved the rezoning with conditions but I think in the spirit of compromise this is the best we can do and I thank all the parties involved to help this come to fruition.”
The resolution will get its final reading before council during its Oct. 28 meeting following a required public hearing.
Donna Shuler-Rodin, the spokesperson for the Jamestown residents’ group concerned over the impact rezoning would have on their community, praised Berkeley County, Martin-Marietta, and the Jamestown community for working together in the spirit of cooperation and goodwill.
“There were like 11 meetings, I believe,” she said during the public hearing portion of the county council meeting. “I feel that Martin Marietta and County Council have done what they can to address our concerns and in a lot of areas they definitely have gone above and beyond what the current laws require.”
Council approved the rezoning of 395 acres from agricultural to heavy industrial, which began in May.
In addition Martin-Marietta agreed to the following conditions requested by Jamestown residents throughout the nearly six-month app several conditions recommended by the planning commission at the request of Jamestown residents:
The company will also build a 20-foot berm where blasting is within 1,000 feet of the property line.
Martin Marietta took steps to ensure its contracted drivers follow strict safety and traffic guidelines by posting signs at the plant entrance and nearby on Highway 45 at a curve with limited sight distance.
Quarry hours of operation are limited from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily except Sunday. It will also be closed on New Year’s Day, July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The plant’s expansion was contingent on the rezoning, because mining can occur only in a heavy industrial zone.
With home offices located in Raleigh, N.C., Martin- Marietta is the nation’s second-largest producer of construction aggregates used mostly for making highways and other infrastructure projects.