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Planning board approves rock quarry expansion near Rockwell

Carolina Quarries on Monday moved one step closer to expanding the size of land used to dispose of leftover rock at the company’s site near Rockwell.

The Rowan County Planning Board approved a map amendment and conditional use permit that would allow Carolina Quarries to use approximately six acres to dispose of leftover rock. The site is located just south of N.C. 152 East and about 2 miles west of Rockwell’s city limits.

With the approval, Planning Board members included a condition that the company would address dust generated as a result of operations. The quarry site’s general manager said dust is generated as a result of truck traffic during dry conditions.

The conditional use permit and map amendment now heads to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners for consideration.

Shortly after Planning Director Ed Muire finished describing the application and showing satellite images of the quarry site during Monday’s meeting, the Planning Board held a hearing for any audience members to comment. The public comment period quickly turned into a discussion between the family who formerly owned the property and Carolina Quarries about the company’s practices.

Shawn Herring and wife Elisha Herring, who live near the quarry site, outlined several concerns about the rezoning, specifically how the change might affect future property values.

“My question was, why don’t they fill in some of the holes that haven’t been used?” Shawn Herring asked. “What will that do to our land when you bring industrial zoning in?”

In her comments, Elisha Herring mentioned noise and dust that results from the quarry’s operations.

“I can dust in the house one day, and the next day it doesn’t look like I’ve done anything at all,” she said.

Carolina Quarries representatives addressed the concerns during the public hearing by telling the Herring family that the rezoning would add space for waste disposal and not increase or change the quarry’s actual operations.

In the Planning Board’s statement of consistency, which was required before an approval, board member Joe Coladarci said he didn’t believe the change would affect traffic or noise.

“They’re not doing anything but piling up rock,” Coladarci said.

He did, however, mention that the excess amount of dust seemed concerning. In response, company representatives in attendance said they already had plans to address any dust that resulted from truck traffic down nearby roads. As an extra condition, the Planning Board asked that Carolina Quarries look to decrease the amount of dust generated by its trucks during business operations.

In other business, the board:

• Elected a new chairman and vice-chairman

When Muire, who directed the elections, asked for nominations Rip Kersey, who was chairman at the time, nominated Larry Jones for the chairman position.

With no one else nominated for the chairman position. Jones became the Planing Board’s chairman without a vote or discussion. Jones previously served as the board’s vice-chairman and has served on the board for one year.

The vice chairman was also selected without any significant discussion. Board member Joe Teeter was the only person nominated for vice-chairman and subsequently got the position.

• Approved a rezoning request adjacent to a rock quarry site in Woodleaf

The rezoning was to change a rural agricultural site owned by Martin Marietta Material Inc. to commercial, business industrial.

Company representatives in attendance said the land, if rezoned, would be used as office space. The company plans to renovate buildings on the site, including the former Woodleaf Fire Department building, for its employees to use.

The rezoned piece of land is located on Cool Springs Road in Woodleaf.

Like the request from Carolina Quarries, it will also head to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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