Quarry company files zoning application

Published 3:26 pm Thursday, October 29, 2009

The company interested in mining limestone in Vincent has taken the next step towards obtaining the zoning status needed to build the quarry.

White Rock Quarries last week filed an application to have 886 acres of land rezoned from rural agricultural to a special district zoning status. The special district zoning status is more restrictive than a heavy industrial zoning status.

White Rock spokesperson Stephen Bradley said White Rock chose to ask for the status to prove the company will be accountable to the town and its citizens.

“When you request the special district zoning, there can only be one kind of activity within that special district, and it would be to build and operate a quarry. Any other use for it other than a quarry would have to go back to the planning and zoning commission,” he said.

He said there will be special requirements set up for landscaping, hours of operation, levels of blasting and noise levels, among other requirements corresponding with the promises White Rock has made to Vincent citizens.

“There’s been a lot of debate and discussion about what will actually take place on that property,” Bradley said. “By requesting this special district, the particular activities that can be carried out on that property will be specified, and it should give citizens some comfort to know what can be done on that property. It should eliminate any speculation and incorrect allegations about what we’re going to do with that property.”

White Rock also owns an additional 86 acres, which is part of the total property of 972 acres belonging to the quarry company.

Currently, that 86 acres is in unincorporated Shelby County, but White Rock plans to apply to have the land annexed into Vincent.

“We could have left the 86 acres in the county, where there are no restrictions. But we’re not doing that,” Bradley said. “All that property will be subject to the same zoning regulations.”

Bradley said White Rock plans to put two distinct legal safeguards in place to give the town legal protection.

First, if the Vincent Town Council approves the zoning application and later finds the quarry is not living up to the requirements of the application, the town has the power to suspend the zoning status until White Rock complies with the requirement. Suspending the zoning status would mean the quarry could not operate until the town reinstated the status.

Second, White Rock plans to enter into a land development agreement with the town of Vincent, which will stipulate requirements for noise abatement, blasting and paving of roads, among others. If White Rock violates those requirements, the town would have the power to take the company to court.

“The town of Vincent will have two legally enforceable ways to make sure the quarry is operating in the way White Rock has promised,” Bradley said.

The county’s zoning and planning administrative staff is currently looking over the application to ensure it’s complete, a process that takes four to six weeks.

After that, the application will be sent on to the Vincent planning and zoning commission, which will hold a public hearing on the application. Then the planning and zoning commission will vote on the application and send a recommendation to the Vincent Town Council. The town council would then hold another public hearing and, finally, vote on the zoning application.