The town planning department established a new category of land use last week to protect current and future neighbors from some of the disruptions caused by the operations of the Wake Stone quarry.
The establishment of the town’s mining and quarrying district was supported by Wake Stone, who estimates their 592 acres of land will be usable for 200 to 300 more years.
“That’s something that’s good for our neighbors and it’s something we’re able to do, so why would we not do it,” Wake Stone vice president Tom Oxholm said. “We have plenty of land to have a 100-foot buffer to keep our neighbors happy.”
The new district, which will be written into the town’s Unified Development Ordinance, is required to have a 100-foot buffer around the edges of the quarrying property. Knightdale Planning Director Chris Hills said in most places along Wake Stone’s border, the buffer is already closer to 200 feet.
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The only permitted use, as noted in the presentation to town council, will be mining or quarrying.
The buffer is supposed to minimize noise and disruptions for residents who live near the quarry. Some residents spoke at the Nov. 3 council meeting to let councilors know of the problems they already have living near the quarry.
Marda Debnam lives on Forestville Road and said she hears machines working through the night at the quarry and once a day in the mid-morning, she feels a blast coming from the property. She said it shakes her home and is worried what it might be doing to her property.
“I don’t know what that’s doing to my house,” she said.
Town planning staff said there isn’t much to be done about the noise issues and allowing the blast is a state matter, not something the town can change or regulate.
The addition of the district was also considered because “local zoning regulations may often be redundant or not explicitly applicable due to the very nature of the quarrying business which is to extract things from the land as opposed to adding things to the land,” the presentation to the council noted.
The land, which is in Knightdale’s extra-terrestrial jurisdiction, is currently zoned for manufacturing and industrial use. It allows mining, but it also allows several other activities.
The town initiated the process of establishing the district and creating requirements for it, but Wake Stone supported the effort, a letter sent to Councilors on Nov. 3 said.
The mining and quarrying district will be the ninth zoning district in the town’s UDO if approved.
The change came to the council before a recommendation from the Planning or Engineering subcommittee or Land Use Review. It will go to the Land Use Review Board and then return to council for a final vote.