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Stony path to approve quarry

Caroline Kingsley, The Park Record

The Summit County Council is considering an appeal made by neighbors of a potential rock quarry.

The neighbors are opposing Rockport Rocks, which would be located east of State Road 32 and south of the entrance to Rockport State Park at the southern end of the reservoir.

"The residents had concerns about visibility, noise, impacts from dust, potential blasting and safety," said County Planner Sean Lewis. "They ran the gamut with those types of concerns."

Lewis added that the issue is a question about whether it is the appropriate location for a rock quarry.

Plans for the quarry include 2-acres near Rockport Reservoir where sandstone would be extracted for up to 30 years.

"They will be extracting big boulders used for landscaping and stream bed stabilization, so it’s not sand and gravel, although some sand and gravel will be a byproduct, I believe," Lewis said.

The quarry would operate 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with possible weekend hours and after-hours maintenance. Ten employees would be on-site daily.

The Planning Commission ultimately concluded that the quarry would not "be a detriment to public health, safety or welfare," according to the county report.

While the quarry operation and trucks coming and going from the site may have a significant noise impact, the impact will be mitigated by limited operation hours, the location and small size, the report stated.

The Planning Commission unanimously approved the quarry on Nov. 7, following several months of work sessions and public hearings devoted to the discussion.

A group of residents filed an appeal to the approval with Summit County days later, on Nov. 15.

"There were some folks in the county who were opposed to the rock quarry going in, so they appealed the decision," Lewis said.

The Summit County Council met on March 20 and April 17 to discuss the appeal and request information from the applicant and staff.

During the March 20 meeting, Jodi Hoffman, who represented the appellants, noted that the development was planned for a slope that was greater than 30 percent grade, which she said is prohibited the Eastern Summit County Development Code.

While the quarry equipment will be on slopes below 30 percent grade, the rock is on slopes greater than 30 percent grade, Lewis explained.

"The question is, if you have a mine, do you go where the gold is?" he asked. "If the gold is on slopes greater than 30 percent, you have to access that to get to the gold. You can’t pick and choose where the gold is. In this case of rock, the applicant is saying that’s where the rock is, so we want to get that."

The County Council said they will continue to discuss the matter during the May 1 meeting, after which they are scheduled to make a decision.


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