On Nov. 19, the town council approved the zoning for the mining and quarrying district, a new type of land use, for the area the Wake Stone quarry currently occupies.
The zoning changed from manufacturing and industrial in order to help protect neighbors from noise and disturbances of Wake Stone quarry, according to town officials.
Now, the district’s only permitted usage will be for mining and quarrying, as noted in a presentation to the town council in early November.
The final vote sealed the decision after a public hearing and a recommendation from the Land Use Review Board.
The requirements for the new district include a 100-foot buffer between the quarry and surrounding properties or public rights-of-way, which is double the old zoning requirements.
Knightdale Planning Director Chris Hills has said in the past that a lot of Wake Stone’s buffer is already much closer to 200 feet.
The purpose of the special use design district is “to accommodate uses that may constitute health or safety hazards, have greater than average impacts on the environment or diminish the use and enjoyment of nearby property,” according to the planning staff report regarding the zoning map.
Although the town initiated the district’s establishment, Wake Stone supported the decision. The company estimates that the land will provide them with 200 to 300 more years of use.
Wake Stone vice president Tom Oxholm has said in the past that the 100-foot buffer is an easy deal to make in comparison to the 592 acres of land that they own.
In addition to the benefit of providing some protection for neighbors, Hills pointed out that the re-zoning also takes into consideration that “operating a quarry is tremendously different than anything else” in developing a town.
He did not think there was any immediate way to determine whether the re-zoning changed the value of the land, since that issue would be determined by a tax assessor.
Although a planning staff report for the text amendment said there was no need for additional buffering, if the quarry converted the land to other uses, they would need to submit a rezoning request.