Williamstown Jefferson County commissioners approved a conditional-use permit Monday for N.R. Hamm Quarries Inc. for a new quarry near Williamstown.
With Monday's action, Hamm has approval for two new quarries within 10 miles of each other along U.S. Highway 24.
In both cases, the quarry proposals were approved over the objections of neighboring landowners, who raised concerns about the effect of blasting, noise, dust and truck traffic on their quality of life and on property values.
In February 1989, Douglas County commissioners approved a conditional-use permit for Hamm for a 160-acre quarry site two miles north of Lawrence on U.S. 24, just west of Midland Junction.
The CUP approved Monday will permit Hamm to quarry rock on a 144-acre tract northwest of the intersection of U.S. Highways 24 and 59, less than a mile northwest of Williamstown. Williamstown is 10 miles northwest of Lawrence.
HAMM PLANS to open both quarries by 1994, according to Allan "Skeet" Smith, business manager at the Perry-based company.
The conditional-use permit approved Monday runs for 30 years. The CUP could be renewed after 30 years, according to Jefferson County Clerk Shirley Walbridge.
Smith said Hamm operates six quarries in Jefferson County and "three or four" in Douglas County.
"You need lots of quarries," he said, explaining that it's not cost-effective to haul rock over long distances.
The CUP calls for Hamm to limit its blasting at the quarry to between noon and 2 p.m. whenever possible.
While the CUP allows the company to blast at other times under special conditions, Smith said Hamm plans to confine its blasting to once a day, between 10 a.m. and noon.
OTHER conditions call for Hamm to maintain a 100-foot buffer zone around the edge of the property and to leave as many trees as possible in the heavily wooded area to screen the quarry from the neighbors' view; to treat roads as needed to minimize airborne dust from the truck traffic; and to reclaim the property after the quarry is closed.
Rollin Clark, chairman of the Jefferson County Commission, said today that he and the other commissioners approved the CUP because they felt another quarry was needed for Jefferson County's use.
"We have to think a little bit about the future," said the Meriden farmer, who leases land to Hamm for a quarry less than a mile from his home.
"We don't hear (blasting) from Hamm's," he said. Clark also said commissioners took pains in the CUP to limit the quarry's impact on neighbors.
"We tried to think of everything and everybody," he said.
A COUPLE of neighbors said today that they don't feel commissioners had their interests in mind.
"I think they did us a real disservice," said Julie Copeland, who lives north of the proposed quarry.
Mrs. Copeland said Hamm bought the property early last fall and went before the Jefferson County Regional Planning and Zoning Commission in November for the CUP.
Mrs. Copeland said that Lawrence attorney Jane Eldredge, who has been representing them in the matter, "told us yesterday we had a really sound basis for a court case."
"But I don't know if we'll be able to take it to court," she said, because of the time and expense that would be involved.
Bernadine Brown, who lives northwest of the proposed quarry, said the CUP will mean a disastrous change in her family's lifestyle.
"We had never planned to sell this place and now we can't begin to," she said. "We've been told it'll be like having a train running constantly by our property. That was (said) to console us.
"We've spent every penny we had on this place for eight years and now it looks like it's all going down the tubes."