CARY – A request from Meyer Material Co. to extend mining and restoration operations at its site on Route 31 until 2020 received a negative recommendation from the Board of Zoning, Planning and Appeals.
The decision came more than three hours into the meeting last week, which included about an hour of public comment. More than a dozen people spoke, all of whom opposed Meyer getting the extension.
Residents’ concerns included the amount of dust and noise the mining site puts into the nearby neighborhood and the potential effect on home values and sales. Many said they had previously been fine with the operations because they were counting on them ending this year and expressed irritation that Meyer had not assessed the site accurately in the first place.
The amendment will need a simple majority of votes to pass through the Village Board. That body is tentatively scheduled to vote on the extension March 15. Attorney Tom Zanck and Meyer Material Director of Land and Environment Randi Wille presented Meyer’s case for an extension, saying the economic downturn had slowed progress and had not been accounted for in the original agreement.
They also said the soil overburden on part of the mining property was much thicker than anticipated, complicating the late stages of mining. Because of unforeseen issues with the land, they said, the resulting lake will be 4 to 5 acres smaller than originally planned. Patrick Jasper voted in favor of the extension after he added an amendment that Meyer still would need to pay the originally agreed upon $100,000-a-month penalty for any mining done after June 1 of this year.
“You were wrong when you said that no one thought about the collapse of the economy,” Jasper said. “I put that in there for the very reason we’re talking tonight, and I think you owe that.”
Board members James Graziano, Jennifer Meyer, Holly Kelps and President Joseph Tournier voted against the extension. Patrick Khoury and Frank O’Laughlin were absent.
Although Meyer Material presented a study from Tracy Cross & Associates that concluded the mine had not had a negative effect on property value of nearby homes, many residents of the Fox Trails subdivision disputed that with anecdotal evidence.
Jasper said he would like to see the study redone to include an analysis of foreclosures and short sales before the Village Board votes on it.
He also said he would like to see Meyer more aggressively market the land it owns along Route 31, which has already been mined and restored, to developers.
The current agreement allows Meyer to continue mining until June 1, with restoration to be completed by June 1, 2018.
NOTE TO READERS: The number of Village Board votes necessary to approve an extension to Meyer Material was corrected in this story.