The Richmond Register

August 13, 2013

Clark County rock quarry opposed

Beth Meredith
Guest Columnist

WINCHESTER — I want to bring attention to an evolving situation in Clark County.

The Allen Company, which operates a quarry in Madison County, is requesting a zone change for 102 acres of prime farm land on KY 627, just north of the Kentucky River, from Agriculture (A-1) to Heavy Industry (I-2), to create an open-pit limestone quarry, with rock crushers, truck scales and sediment ponds.

This farm is adjacent to my home.

Rhonda Cromer, director of planning and community development, has recommended approval to the Winchester/Clark County Planning Commission “based on the 2012 Comprehensive Plan.” The plan designates this part of the county as a tourism area, which includes Fort Boonesborough, Lower Howards Creek Nature and Heritage Preserve, Hall’s on the River and a Civil War fort.

Sites which the plan designates for I-2 zoning are in the I-64 corridor north of Winchester.

The existing mine in Madison County is underground. What is planned north of the river, alongside the highway with no buffer zone (required for this use by the Comp Plan) and adjacent to several communities, is an open-pit mine. This is in no way compatible with the comprehensive plan.

The open-pit mine would destroy the viewshed at this major gateway to our county, create hazards with mineral dust and sediment ponds next to an open waterway on the farm, destroy the quality of life of communities near the property, devalue our homes and add fully-loaded gravel truck traffic to KY 627.

These trucks would be entering the road midway in a steep grade, into often heavy traffic, with tractor-trailers barreling down the hill toward Madison County, school buses and frequent fog from the river.

The most disturbing thing is the irresponsible manner in which our county officials are approaching this request, which does not serve Clark County citizens, only the economic interests of a company based in Fayette County with primary operations in Madison County.

If approved, this open-pit quarry will permanently destroy this beautiful, historic gateway to the county in which I chose to build my home and spend the rest of my life. This deserves scrutiny from anyone concerned about Kentucky’s heritage.

Beth Meredith