CARY – By June 2018, Cary residents and officials hope Meyer Material Company will be out of the village and finished with the restoration of its gravel pit off Route 31.
The Cary Village Board approved an ordinance that allows the excavating company to use a floating dredge weekly from 7:30 a.m. Monday through 7:30 p.m. Saturday starting in March. According to the ordinance, mining must be completed by December 2017, with restoration finished six months later.
“I think we have an overwhelming consensus that Meyer needs to leave town,” Cary Mayor Mark Kownick said at Tuesday’s meeting. “In the quickest, safest, most efficient way possible. And it’s going to leave us with the best asset that we could possibly have moving forward.”
The ordinance passed, 4-3, with Kownick and trustees David Chapman, Rick Dudek and Ellen McAlpine voting ‘yes,’ and trustees Jim Cosler, Kim Covelli and Jeffery Kraus voting ‘no.”
The Village Board had rejected a request for a three-year mining agreement with a 3-3 vote May 17, and Meyer has continued to mine the site from June to September and pay the associated $100,000-a-month fee from the original agreement.
According to a 2008 ordinance, Meyer Material should have finished mining by June 2016 and restoration by June 2018.
Typically, a petitioner must wait a year before coming back before the board, Cary Village Administrator Chris Clark has said, but in October the board decided to consider the new proposal using the floating dredge.
“We just feel that this is a win-win result where we can be out of here by June 1 and donate the property to the village,” attorney representing Meyer Material Thomas Zanck said at Tuesday’s meeting.
The Village Board packet for Tuesday included about 10 emails sent in the past few months from residents with questions and complaints on Meyer Material.
Resident Kate DePinto, who lives in the Fox Trails subdivision near the pit, spoke during public comment and sent an email to the village.
“My concern at this point really is the quality of our life,” DePinto said. “I don’t want to hear the dredge at night.”
At the Cary Board of Zoning, Planning and Appeals Oct. 20 meeting, board members heard from acoustics consultant Thomas Thunder, who presented an acoustics study that determined the sound of the dredge would be “minimally audible” from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., and the rest of the time, it would be lower than ambient noise in the area.
Michael Kawasaki, a resident who lives next to the pit, spoke at public comment and said while he supports the use of the new machine and extended hours, he wants to make sure Meyer finishes the job.
“Because if they stop and then just say, ‘OK, we’re just done,’ I don’t want them to just go away. I want them to be compelled to finish it if that's what it comes down to,” Kawasaki said.
According to the ordinance, Meyer will have to pay a one-time fee of $500,000 if they mine past the designated date, in additional to $100,000 per every month they mine past December 2017.
The village will receive a total of $950,000 in impact fees from Meyer that will go in the general fund, Cary Community Development Director Brian Simmons said, and the Cary Park District will receive $350,000. The village also will receive $25,000 to use for noise monitoring consultants.
The new agreement also states the $1.8 million in a land conservancy fund given to the village by Meyer does not have to be used for a park at the Meyer site, Simmons said.
“I feel like the members of the board and the mayor who have supported the amendments have given what amounts to basically concessions to Meyer,” Cosler said Wednesday, adding that the original agreement was better for the village.
For McAlpine, the new proposal Meyer brought forward eliminates problems people in the neighborhood have had with dust and noise.
"I look at this as an opportunity for this board to get it right," McAlpine said.