BY MIKE FUHRMAN

The Statesville City Council will consider a request by Martin Marietta Inc. to expand its 278-acre mining operation during Monday’s council meeting.

The company is planning to add 53.8 acres and invest $40 million in relocating and upgrading equipment for its mining and crushing operation at its Statesville quarry.

During Monday’s meeting, the council will hold a public hearing to receive community input on Martin Marietta’s request to rezone portions of five parcels on Bradley Farm Road and Quarry Road from urban low-density residential and neighborhood business to heavy industrial with conditional use. The council is also scheduled to convene as quasi-judicial body to consider Martin Marietta’s request for a special-use permit to allow the “replacement and relocation of quarrying machinery, freshwater settling basins and operations of an existing quarry onto new properties located at 155 Quarry Road.”

The meeting is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. in Statesville City Hall.

The Planning Board unanimously recommended approval of this request during its February meeting. The planning staff also supports the request.

In its application, Martin Marietta said it held a meeting with nearby property owners, who expressed few concerns about their expansion plans.

But James H. Pressly, who owns property on Old Wilkesboro Road, said there is plenty of opposition.

“It is unthinkable and certainly junk planning that the Statesville Planning Department and Planning Board recommend placing heavy industrial uses which include 80-foot equipment towers, vibration, noise, dust, in our residential neighborhood,” Pressly, who started Statesville Citizens Against Backyard Quarry, said in a news release.

Pressly recently received his building permit to build 80 attached homes on three levels for a residential community designed for the elderly, disabled, handicapped, and retired Iredell County residents.

“I’ve talked to the neighbors, many of whom have lived in this neighborhood for generations,” Pressly said. “Quarry neighbors will tell you how the noise and vibration from the blasts knock pictures off their walls and crack the concrete slabs of their home’s foundations. Many are frightened and have sold their homes to Martin Marietta at a discount simply to escape the destruction and devastation of the residential neighborhood.”

Martin Marietta’s Statesville Quarry has been operational since 1960. It has provided valuable resources for the commercial and residential development throughout the region, including the construction of Interstate 40.

City officials have approved numerous conditional rezoning permits and special-use permits over the years, including requests in 2009, 1999, 1993, 1986, 1982 and 1978.

Documents filed with the latest rezoning and conditional-use permit requests outline the company’s plans. The primary plant/crusher would be moved on their existing site south of the pit and the secondary plant/crusher, stockpiles and settling basins will be moved on the properties requested for rezoning. The secondary plant will be moved south of Quarry Road and the stockpiles and settling basins on the north side of Quarry Road.

If this application is granted, Martin Marietta will install a “new, environmentally friendly plant and processing equipment.” The new equipment will be more energy efficient, contain better emission suppression and emit fewer total emissions, the company said.

In its application, the company said its application is “consistent with good land use planning. It allows for the continued development of an already existing site so that it can supply a necessary product, all while maintaining existing, and in some cases enhanced, buffers to protect the surrounding community. With the requested approvals the Statesville Quarry will continue to supply this community with needed
materials for decades to come.”

Among the requirements for the special-use permit:

♦ A minimum distance of 1,000 feet shall be maintained between any blasting and any structure used as a residence and not owned or leased by Martin Marietta.

♦ A perimeter buffer will be maintained around the outer boundary of the Property with a minimum width of 100 feet. This buffer may consist of existing vegetation, earthen berms and/or any supplemental vegetation or fencing required to meet the current buffer yard requirements.

♦ Applicant shall install fencing as necessary to comply with ordinance requirements.

♦ A 50-foot stream buffer will be maintained along each side of the existing streams.

♦ Prior to construction, Martin Marietta shall submit to the Planning Director for review and approval a landscaping plan with additional screening along the northern and eastern boundaries of the settling and freshwater ponds.

♦ The height of the any new plant component shall not exceed 80 feet.

♦ The use allowed by this approval is the processing and sale of earth products and mined materials, together with all supporting structures, activities and uses, including screening buffers, berms, crushing, conveying, screening, stockpiling, washing, and sale of such mined products, settling ponds, freshwater ponds, shops, employee buildings and offices.

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