Berkeley council gives Jamestown quarry nod to expand

MONCKS CORNER - When Donna Shuler-Rodin heard that a Jamestown limestone quarry about a mile from her home planned to expand, she knew she couldn’t stand idly by.

At meetings with officials from Martin Marietta and the Berkeley County Planning Commission over the last several months, Shuler-Rodin, who has lived in Jamestown nearly all of her life, outlined concerns ranging from additional truck traffic, blasting noise, damage to wildlife habitats, damage to homes and buildings, and more.

Monday, she stood before Berkeley County Council for another reason, to thank them, county employees, Martin Marietta officials and Jamestown residents for working together on the issue.

“There were like 11 meetings, I believe,” she said. “I feel that Martin Marietta and County Council have done what they can to address our concerns and in a lot of areas they definitely have gone above and beyond what the current laws require.”

Later in the meeting, council unanimously approved the rezoning of about 395 acres from an agricultural district to a heavy industrial district, as requested by Martin Marietta Materials Real Estate Investments Inc. and Martin Marietta Materials Inc.

The property borders the current mining site, which is in the Francis Marion National Forest, and was purchased by the company about a year ago with the intention to expand it’s limestone mining operation.

The request was first made in May.

“Martin Marietta, in my opinion, has done everything they can do to work with the county,” said county planner Eric Greenway during a land use committee meeting earlier this month. “Everything we talked about and asked them to do, they’ve done. We’re not going to make everyone happy here and I certainly understand that, but as far as this facility is concerned, I think it’s an asset to the county and … I think we ought to allow them to expand.”

Martin Marietta agreed to several conditions recommended by the planning commission, including a 300-foot undisturbed buffer along the Santee Cooper; improved traffic conditions at and near the entrance; and making blasting records available to the public.

The company will also build a 20-foot berm where blasting is within 1,000 feet of the property line.

Martin Marietta has put additional signs at the plant entrance on Highway 45 warning truck drivers to stop, but can’t control traffic on the state-owned Hwy. 45.

The quarry will operate from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily except Sunday. It will also be closed on New Year’s Day, July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The plant’s expansion was contingent on the rezoning, because mining can occur only in a heavy industrial zone.

“These cases are difficult,” said Councilman Steve Davis, who represents the district. “You’ve got property owners’ rights and adjoining landowners’ rights. I think in the spirit of compromise, this is about the best we can do.”

The company, headquartered in Raleigh, is the nation’s second-largest producer of construction aggregates used mostly for making highways and other infrastructure projects. Limestone is used in concrete and asphalt.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or @brindge on Twitter.

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