Thursday, August 05, 1999

Boone planners reject mine


Longbranch subdivision wins OK

BY KRISTINA GOETZ
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BURLINGTON — Two controversial development projects made their way to the Boone County Planning Commission on Wednesday night.

        With no discussion, but with a full house of opposition in the audience, the planning commission voted not to recommend any of the three proposals from Martin Marietta Materials Inc. to the fiscal court

        The company wants to establish an underground mining operation in Boone County.

        The commission also voted 7-6 to recommend to the Florence City Council a proposal that would allow a housing development called Longbranch Park, which would include up to 954 homes as well as 35 acres of green space including public and private parks and a public lake for fishing.

        “I thought they really fought for the residents and asked a lot of good questions for the people of Boone County,” Kerry Trouberman of Pe tersburg said of the mining issue.

        The fiscal court is expected to vote on the mining issue next month.

        “That's a big hurdle,” Ms. Trouberman said. “Hopefully they'll decide with us.”

        The zone change committee's report said that none of Martin Marietta's proposals fit with the county's comprehensive plan and that several residents in the area relied on the fact that the plan does not call for industrial uses and/or mining uses for the site.

        “These parties have made substantial investments based on this fact,” the report read.

        The report also says Martin Marietta tried to demonstrate that, based on the criteria for the industrial zone, a subsurface mine could not be located in Boone County except for the site under review.

        There are other locations, the report said, where a mine could go.

        “We're curious to know what those locations might be,” said James Dressman, an attorney for the mining company. “They've never given us an answer.”

        Boone County Fiscal Court members are under the same political pressure as the commission, Mr. Dressman said, so he does not expect a favorable vote from either.

        The answer Martin Marietta is looking for will come in court, he said.

        “There's no doubt in my mind,” he said.

        Another opposition group at the meeting wasn't so pleased with the commission. It was fighting the Longbranch Park housing development along Longbranch Road. The city of Florence wants to annex 367 acres for the project.

        Several commissioners voiced concerns about the project's compatibility with the comprehensive plan and possible traffic problems.

        “The people who live on Longbranch now, I don't see any benefit to them,” said Commissioner Robert Schwenke.

        Others said the infrastructure needed would be provided by the city.

        “It's very disappointing to go through all this, coming out here to the courthouse to lose by one vote,” said Jerry Haskell, a resident of Longbranch Road. “It's very disappointing when the primary concern was the safety of the residents because of the way the road was constructed.”

        Florence City Council members will meet with Union commission members before a final decision is made.

       



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