Large crowd on hand to fight proposed rock quarry

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

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YORK COUNTY —

Karon Baker loves the wide, open view from her front porch -- and the complete absence of hustle and bustle.

"I could not imagine a better place to live," Baker said.

Channel 9 was first to report about a growing controversy over a proposed rock quarry planned for northern York County. The quarry would be less than a quarter-mile from baker's front door.

Martin Marietta wants to use 40 acres of land off Ridge Road near Highway 321 for a granite mine.  The plan would bring in roughly 80 trucks a day to the rural site.

"If that happens I guess we'll just have to move," Baker said.

She's not the only one concerned after seeing a sign pop up last month on Ridge Road announcing a June 2 public hearing.

Dave Horne moved his family out there from Charlotte for peace and quiet. They bought a farm to live off the land.

"We grow vegetables and raise beef, pork and chicken naturally, and we're really concerned about the farming part of what we do," Horne said. "This dust from the mine is going to be carried on the air and coat everything we grow out here."

Neighbors are also concerned about potential pollution of their wells, noise from blasting, and increased traffic.

Martin Marietta told Channel 9 the proposed site is a good one because rock is plentiful there and is even visible above ground in some places. First the land must be rezoned from residential to agricultural to make that happen.

Horne said neighbors have quickly organized in opposition.

"Our last meeting on Thursday we had 140, and that's just word of mouth and phone calls," he said.

On Monday night, neighbors will take their concerns before York County leaders for the first time.

Council chairman Britt Blackwell said he's already gotten an earful.

"I’m probably averaging 20 e-mails a day the past two weeks, five just this morning," Blackwell said.

"I think this could be one of the most crowded council meetings I’ve been involved with."

The county planning commission has already recommended that the rezoning go forward.

However, if the rezoning is voted down Monday, that will shut the door on the project.  A yes vote on first reading will push it forward for further debate.

Martin Marietta runs more than 300 other similar mines across the country and has another in York County off Porter Road south of Rock Hill.

The firm said it has a long track record of working with communities and can run the quarry with minimal impact to neighbors.