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Residents to appeal quarry decision

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Conditional use permit hearing on recess until April

By Marty Finley

The Hardin County Planning and Development Commission unanimously approved rezoning of 26.8 acres of land from single-family residential to heavy industrial Tuesday night for expansion of an existing rock quarry, but upset homeowners plan to appeal the decision.

Frank Humphrey, representing nearby homeowners, said those who oppose the expansion will compose a letter to Hardin Fiscal Court for a formal appeal. They have a 21-day window to appeal the decision, Planning Director Wesley Wright said.

Vulcan Materials intends to purchase 26.8 acres behind the rear wall of its quarry off Battle Training Road. The expansion would bring the quarry closer to the Mill Creek subdivision and is distressing to neighbors in the nearby Ravenswood and Stone Creek developments, all of which are off Bewley Hollow Road.

The expansion would not create access from the quarry to Bewley Hollow Road, though the road sometimes closes temporarily during blasting.

Humphrey said homeowners’ concerns have not lessened as they have complained about noise, dust, vibrations, property damage and loss of property values.

No crushing would occur in the expansion area, Vulcan representatives said during a February hearing. A rock quarry has operated in the area since 1949 and has been owned by Vulcan since 1982.

Vulcan still needs to obtain a conditional use permit to develop the quarry addition and the commission opened a new public hearing Tuesday for testimony. The hearing was recessed until April 15 as Vulcan reviews some of the proposed conditions and works with the county and homeowners on uses, according to officials.

Carl Van Hoozier, manager of process improvement, community relations and governmental affairs for Vulcan, said the company is pleased with the commission’s decision and wants to work with homeowners to develop conditional uses that are amenable to every party involved.

That includes creation of a work group consisting of Vulcan representatives, county planners and nearby residents to brainstorm ideas on how the conditional use permit could be implemented, Van Hoozier said. Wright said Vulcan also has discussed holding neighborhood meetings to address conditional uses.

The county — as a requirement of the permit’s issuance — can impose certain conditions the permit holder must meet, which can include time limits on projects, set hours of operation, building setbacks, buffers and shields, limits on scope and intensity of activities, and parking, landscaping, lighting and signage regulations, Wright said.

One of the major concerns voiced by homeowners was night-time operations by Vulcan at the quarry, which are regarded as a nuisance. Vulcan representatives said nightly operations are recent and a necessity to meet demand of heavy road construction in the area, including development of Patriot Parkway between Elizabethtown and Radcliff.

Homeowners were hopeful any prohibition against night work applied to the expansion would be applied to the entire quarry, but legal counsel for the county indicated the conditional use permit only would be applicable to the 26.8 acres.

Wright said the existing quarry operates without a conditional use permit because it was grandfathered in under the zoning ordinance.

“We’ll try to persuade them to see if they could apply it to the whole balance of the operation,” Wright said. “I don’t think it’s out of the question.”

Van Hoozier spoke Wednesday morning to The News-Enterprise about the quarry, but could not be reached that afternoon to address homeowners’ concerns about hours of operation.

Van Hoozier has said Vulcan would like to start work on the expansion by summer or earlier, but it is contingent on the conditional use permit and the results of any appeal.

“We’ll try to get started as soon as possible,” he said.

Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.