The Village of Sunrise Beach has made it tougher for a proposed quarry expansion and retail center to make it through Camden County Planning & Zoning.
On Monday evening, Sunrise Beach Board of Trustees took its position on a proposal to Camden County for a rezoning and special use permit (SUP) on approximately 30 acres adjacent to the village at Highway 5 and Tree Lane. The board voted unanimously against the proposal.
An intergovernmental agreement between the Camden County Commission and the Sunrise Beach board allows each jurisdiction to officially comment on P&Z cases involving property within 1 1/2 miles of the village-county boundary.
With this recommendation by the village, it will take a supermajority of the county planning commission to recommend the rezoning and a supermajority of the county commission to approve it.
The dual application from Magruder Quarry and Equipment and Charles and Phyllis Turner that was filed with the county seeks to rezone agricultural-residential land directly south of an existing quarry in Sunrise Beach to high impact commercial - the zoning designation for big box stores.
Rough plans submitted by the applicants show an expansive shopping center spanning both properties - approximately 60 acres.
Magruder's Sunrise Beach location is zoned medium impact commercial. The quarry is a non-conforming industrial use grandfathered under Sunrise Beach P&Z.
The special use permit was requested from the county board of adjustment to quarry the new site until it is down to grade and sell the rock from the quarry.
The proposal would approximately double the size of the current mining operation. The project area would abut Highway 5 from Eddie Ave. (formerly Lake Rd. 5-45) on the north to Tree Lane (formerly Lake Rd. 5-48) on the south.
The application proposes to mine the property to a grade of 700 feet. The time to reach that level will be driven by market demand of the products sold at this quarry, the application states, and final design and layout of buildings will vary to match demand and sales of real estate at the time of development.
The applicants state that the proposal would prevent the existing quarry from "continuing to excavate to depths that will ultimately end in a deep pond" that would be unusable and a detriment to adjacent property values and a public safety concern.
Neighboring residents to the existing quarry attended the Sunrise Beach P&Z meeting to oppose the proposal and will likely be at the July 17 county hearing.
The quarry has faced opposition in the past to operations. There were significant complaints from residents and business owners near the quarry about blasting operations under a different company, leading to the formation of the Sunrise Beach Quarry Accountability Committee.
Page 2 of 2 - The committee's advocacy led to some changes in state regulations and village ordinances regarding mining and blasting. The issue also renewed interest in P&Z in the village, leading to its adoption in 2009.
Since Magruder took over the site, there have been less formal complaints but neighboring residents and business owners still don't like the blasting nearby.
A few years ago, Magruder held a meeting with the residents and presented a similar proposal to develop a shopping center at this location. The proposal was not well received with many doubting the viability of a commercial development down in the hold of the quarry.
The Sunrise Beach Planning Commission was scheduled to review the Magruder case July 1 and make a recommendation to the village trustees but could not form a quorum with four of seven members unable to attend due to work commitments.
The village planning commission will now not review the case.
The board of trustees decided to go ahead and vote on the issue at its July 8 meeting to be able to present an opinion to the Camden County Planning Commission at its July 17 public hearing on the case.
Village Chairman Curt Mooney and Trustee Charlie Bott both expressed concern about the potential for the shopping center to not come to fruition and the site to simply become more ground to quarry for years to come.
"It's taken them nine years to dig the hole they've got, and there's no guarantee they'll be able to develop it," Bott said.