Proposed quarry receives zoning

PERRY — The Houston County Commission unanimously approved Tuesday the rezoning necessary for the development of a limestone quarry south of Perry.

As a result, 854 acres will be rezoned from R-AG residential/agricultural, to M-2 general industrial.

“There’s downsides to any type of land use,” Commissioner Gail Robinson said after the vote. However, she said, the negative effects of a quarry, such as dust and noise, can be controlled with proper regulation.

More than 200 people showed up for the meeting, which had to be moved from the commission’s boardroom to the jury assembly room in the courthouse. About half of the attendees wore green and yellow stickers in support of the Georgia Limerock Co. LLC project. Eight people from each side of the issue spoke.

The approval came with some caveats. Those include:

Ÿ A signed agreement from Georgia Limerock Co. detailing what the company will do on Plant Road to comply with county regulations, including updating it to industrial capacity. Also, if possible, the company is to use Ga. 224 for ingress and egress.

Ÿ A 300-foot forested buffer around residential areas.

Ÿ A 50-year stormwater design on the project.

The 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. About 350 acres — about 41 percent of the site — previously were mined from the 1920s to the mid-1970s, according to planning and zoning documents.

“What you’re doing is just reopening a mine that was there before,” Commissioner Tom McMichael said.

Proponents of the rezoning said the quarry would bring jobs to the area and help farmers who use calcitic lime on their lands.

“We need to always increase our tax base,” said Neil Suggs, a small-business owner in Warner Robins. “We need the jobs. ... This is an opportunity for private industry, private tax base to come in.”

The plant is expected to create 15 jobs and add an estimated $4.5 million in property and equipment investments to the tax digest.

The combined tax revenue from real estate, personal property and sales could generate $65,000 per year, documents show.

Opponents, many of whom live in the Elko community, said they worried about the noise and dust the quarry would generate.

In addition, some said they worried approving the industrial zoning would be a slippery slope toward more industrial zoning in the area.

“It’s really going to change the nature and the personalities of the communities around there,” said Annette Ezell, who lives on Terrell Road.

In other business, the commission approved in a 3-0 vote the purchase of 200 acres from Oaky Woods Properties LLC for $1.5 million.

Robinson was not present for the vote because she had to leave the meeting early.

The purchase is expected to be completed about Nov. 15. The property is adjacent to the landfill and bordered by Big Indian Creek on the north side, McMichael said. It is to be used for green space, hunting and abatement to the landfill, he said.