Limestone quarry clears zoning hurdle

WARNER ROBINS — A proposed limestone quarry south of Perry cleared another hurdle Monday night.

The Houston County Planning & Zoning Board approved 3-2 a request from Georgia Limerock Co. LLC to rezone 854 acres to an M-2 general industrial district for a quarry’s development. The area currently is zoned as an R-AG residential/agricultural district.

The board’s recommendation for approval will be given to the Houston County Commission, which will hear the request at its Nov. 3 meeting.

P&Z Board Chairman Bill Schwanebeck, who had to break the other members’ tied votes, said he visited the proposed quarry site several times, including Monday, and observed operations at the neighboring Cemex quarry.

“It doesn’t appear to create any problems,” he said after the meeting.

Board members Stephan Holcomb and Dave Smith also voted to approve the rezoning. Nancy Newell and Randy Moore voted against it.

Both Newell and Moore said concerns about dust and neighbors’ quality of life played a role in their decisions.

“No matter how well-intentioned a mining company is, it’s difficult to overcome” the dust, Moore said.

Holcomb said he thought there was “some level of assurance” that neighbors’ quality of life would be protected.

The proposed quarry would be located within an area south of Ga. 224 and east of Elko Road, just off of Plant Road. The existing Cemex quarry is adjacent to and southeast of the site.

The mining operation would provide raw limestone material for use as a road base, which is the material between the soil and road surface.

About 20 residents who live near the proposed quarry came out in opposition of the project.

Elko Road resident Clifton Driver said he opposed the project based on the potential impact the quarry’s noise and dust would have on his quality of life.

“The reason we picked Elko Road (to live on) is it’s peaceful. It’s quiet. It’s residential out there,” he said. “I intend to stay out there, and I oppose the quarry because I don’t want to drive by an industrial operation when I go home every evening.”