Residents oppose quarry expansion

RALEIGH Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said Tuesday's crowd was the largest he's seen in 10 years. Most of the people who came out oppose the expansion, but both sides had their voices heard.

The facility near Umstead State Park was established by the North Carolina Department of Transportation in 1946 and has been excavating granite for decades.

The quarry's current owner - Hanson Aggregates Southeast - wants 100 acres west of the quarry rezoned from residential to industrial. If the rezoning request goes through, Hanson will buy the land from the developer that has it now.

Chris Ward spoke on behalf of the quarry at Tuesday's meeting. He talked about what he says are "substantial benefits" of the re-zoning proposal.

"When we began the process we believed that this proposal was a positive, win-win potential outcome," Ward said. "Tonight we still believe that."

The benefits include the completion of a critical portion to the greenway, the settlement of existing litigation with the city, and potential flood protection for downstream businesses and homeowners --businesses like Crabtree Valley Mall.

"Additional flood control is needed and is available at a very small cost to the residents of Raleigh," Neil Rudolph with Plaza Associates said.

But nearby residents say they're not excited by the prospect of more dynamite blasts and roaring trucks in their backyard.

"There is no proposal here for flood control," Raleigh resident Andrew Meehan said. "This rezoning is about Hanson's profits."

Meehan, who lives near the quarry, told the council he opposes re-zoning an area that is currently residential to industrial.

"If you look at that map there's already streets laid out on that piece of property," he said.

The move, Meehan says, would allow the quarry to have an even bigger impact on the lives of nearby residents.

"They want to bring their blasting, which we can already feel from 400 feet down up to the surface and a thousand feet closer," Meehan said.

Meehan says he spoke on behalf of 1,300 people, many of them present and dressed in red, who fervently oppose the expansion. He urged the council to protect residents and vote no.

"Tell the Hanson Quarry's owners that the city's comprehensive plan is more than just a piece of paper, it's a promise to these residents," Meehan said.

A Citizens Advisory Council will be voting on the project sometime next week. The city's planning commission will also give the council its recommendation in the next four to six weeks.

In the meantime, residents opposed to the expansion have set up a website called

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