Letters to the editor for March 7, 2007
Regarding your commentary of Feb. 21 (Calera park deal a win-win for everyone, by Tim Prince), I understand this to be an opinion piece but it appears that some of your opinions have been formed based on ignorance of the situation.
For example, while it is true that &8220;…the request has upset some landowners who fear decreased property values.&8221; That is but one of a long list of concerns shared by not only the surrounding landowners but by many in other areas of Calera as well. These concerns would include proximity to the new High School, air quality and pollution (lime dust), potential property damage from blasting, noise pollution, sinkhole formation in the already delicate Dry Valley proper, the precedent set for opening other nuisance operations within the city in exchange for money, among others.
Additionally, as for your comments that &8220;Chemical Lime more than likely could have eventually opened a quarry without making this donation; there are other ways to accomplish such things … what the company has chosen to do is speed the process …&8221;
Actually, as you should be aware there is one other way to accomplish this and that would be to petition the Shelby County Planning Commission for rezoning.
I suppose that you are unaware of the fact that this is the third time in 12 years (speeding the process?) that Chem-Lime has attempted to open this quarry at this location. A quick check of your publication&8217;s archives will verify that in 1995 when Chem-Lime announced it&8217;s intentions to open the quarry, Mayor Roy sent a letter informing them that the city would attempt to block it&8217;s opening. (He later stated that he was unaware of the location when he wrote the letter).
Again, in 2001 an attempt was made to open the quarry in similar fashion to the current proposal (minus the $7 million) and citizens made it clear to the city that they did not want the quarry and the proposal died. At no time during this 12-year period has Chem-Lime applied for rezoning from the county.
While you certainly have the right (and forum) to share your opinions, I believe that you also have the responsibility to present factual and historical information pertinent to the issues.
Bruce is right on the money, however, I have to disagree with your article. This is not a &8220;win-win&8221; situation for anyone in Calera or surrounding Shelby County residences. The only &8220;winner&8221; I see here is Chemical Lime Company of Alabama.
The landowners lose totally. Yes, I know I am one, but also the children that will attend the new high school and 7 million dollars worth of ball parks will also be in the direct shadows of surface-blasting, silica dust, lead, sinkholes and the constant threat of loaded trucks side-by-side with our teenage drivers.
It takes a long time to mine a quarry even with the proposed tunneling under people and highways. This is totally unacceptable and I hope the Calera community and city leaders educate themselves on this disaster that is about to take place. As I see it we have something Chemical Lime wants, not the other way around.
What Calera needs to do is protect its people, not sell them out for a ballpark side-by-side with a dangerous mining project. I challenge everyone reading this that will play ball and attend the new high school in Calera to do all you can to educate yourself on what M-2 and M-3 Zoning is all about. I promise you will find differently than what this article says.
Attend city council meetings and visit your local lime quarries (Highway 25). Then voice your opinion on your actual knowledge of this industry. I did, and my trust in Calera&8217;s leaders has &8220;gone up in a cloud of dust&8221; to say the least. Pray for us.