Vincent planning commission votes to approve White Rock request

The Vincent planning commission unanimously voted March 23 to approve White Rock Quarries’ request to rezone 886 acres of land to accommodate a limestone quarry.

Now, the commission’s recommendation must go before the town council, which must decide whether to approve the request.

The meeting was held outside to allow more people to hear the commission’s discussion. Immediately after the commission voted, commission member Robert Malone abruptly resigned.

“I’d like y’all to accept my resignation,” said Malone, as he gathered his things and left the meeting. At that point, the crowd broke into cheers and applause.

After the commission adjourned, commission member Marsh Acker said he was unaware Malone planned to resign.

“I don’t think it’s any of our responsibility to talk about our discussions with each other, but I have no idea why he voted yes and then resigned,” Acker said.

Acker said he voted yes because White Rock should be able to decide what to do with their property.

“They own the property. They should be able to plan how to use their property,” he said. “It is not inconsistent with the safety, welfare and wellness of the town.”

Acker said the planning commission is also recommending the town council take a hard look at White Rock’s request before approving it. He said the council would need to consider issues such as taxation and business practices, which aren’t related to the responsibilities of the planning commission.

White Rock President Jim Hurley said he was pleased with the planning commission’s vote, but realizes there’s still work to be done.

“I know it’s been very different for their deliberations. We’ve worked very hard to demonstrate our commitment,” he said. “We know we have to continue to work hard for this next step. I think it’s very important for the council to move quickly so the town can move forward.”

Hurley is meeting with EBSCO President F. Dixon Brooke Jr. March 30 to attempt to work out issues regarding the quarry.

Jo Mudd with the Vincent Historical and Environmental Society said she was not surprised by the vote.

Mudd said she is concerned with the precedent the planning commission is setting for other companies.

“I have serious, serious concerns about when you let one in, you let them all in,” she said. “When you make special considerations for mining, when the next company comes in, will you tell them no?”

White Rock’s zoning request would rezone the company’s 886 acres of land from rural agricultural to a special district zoning status.