The public hearing before Camden County Planning and Zoning on a proposed rezoning tied to a special use permit application to quarry and eventually commercially develop property on Highway 5 at Tree Lane has been continued to Aug. 21. The hearing, and not just the case itself, was continued from the July 17 meeting due to the county's request for more information from applicant Mark Magruder.
In a dual application, Magruder Quarry & Equipment and Charles and Phyllis Turner are seeking to rezone 30 acres of agricultural-residential land in the county directly south of an existing quarry in Sunrise Beach to high impact commercial - the zoning designation for big box stores. They have also applied for a special use permit (SUP) from the Board of Adjustment to quarry - mining and selling rock - to get the property to grade for potential business development.
While the property involved in the rezoning case is located in the county, the overall plan includes land within the adjacent Village of Sunrise Beach.
The project area fronts Highway 5 from Eddie Ave. on the north and Tree Lane and Westerner Rd. on the south. Magruder's existing quarry is located in town. It is zoned general commercial and is a non-conforming pre-existing use under the city's zoning code.
The development plan indicates the intent to develop the 60 total acres of the existing and proposed quarry as a large retail center. The proposal would approximately double the size of the current mining operation.
Surrounding zoning of the properties includes mostly single family residential to the south and west with some agriculture-residential as well. There is medium impact commercial zoning (B-2) across the highway to the east and a small section of B-2 to the south on Highway 5.
According to County P&Z Administrator Don Hathaway, the Camden County Planning Commission is seeking a general traffic study, an amount of soil volume to be removed and grading plan in accordance with information the county can request under Appendix A for preliminary plats.
This information is needed to give the county a better idea on the time frame for the proposed quarry operation to level the ground sufficiently for a commercial development. It would also give them a better idea of the feasibility of the overall proposal, Hathaway said.
With the proposed depth of the quarry, a retail development might not be accessible via the existing roads.
It is currently proposed to level the property at a depth of approximately 700 feet below sea level which would put the land about 120 feet below the highway though the site may be sloped from the roadway to the development.
With new information to come from the applicant, testimony will be allowed to continue from both proponents and detractors.
Page 2 of 3 - With the Urban Services Boundary Agreement between Sunrise Beach and Camden County, Sunrise Beach is allowed to officially comment on P&Z cases involving property within 1 1/2 miles of the village-county boundary.
The Sunrise Beach Planning Commission may also review the new information in case though the Sunrise Beach Board of Trustees has already voted in opposition to the current proposal.
With the village opposition, a two-thirds majority is required to pass the rezoning request as it now stands.
The quarry in Sunrise Beach has long been a contentious issue.
In 2007, the existing quarry was located within the county and sought under a different operator to rezone from agricultural-residential to agricultural that would have made the quarrying at the site a permissable use under Camden County code. The quarry then successfully sought annexation into the village which had no zoning at that time.
Village trustees later stated that they were unaware of any issue with the quarry. No opposition was present at the public hearing or in the immediate weeks after.
Residents and business owners with complaints about blasting and fly rock from the quarry damaging buildings eventually organized and addressed the town trustees to try to get the board to shut down quarry operations.
Their efforts eventually lead to some changes in state blasting ordinances as well as the implementation of planning and zoning in Sunrise Beach in 2009.
Residents also protested an asphalt plant under a different operator at the site. It was later shut down after going dormant and losing its grandfathered status.
At some point Magruder Limestone took over operations at the quarry.
The company has cleaned up the site to some extent and has had fewer complaints from the neighborhood.
Around 40 residents attended the July 17 meeting of the Camden County Planning Commission to speak out against the rezoning and SUP. They testified not only to problems with the quarry in the past when it was operating under the other company but also to complaints about the current operations.
Todd Williams purchased his home in the area about six months ago and said he could feel the boom from blasting at the quarry.
Business and home owner in the area Barb Robinson also testified to current blasting operations rattling the windows at her business and dust coming up out of the quarry.
Other residents expressed concerns about blasting and dust as well as the feasibility of the proposal, fearing the expansion would just lead to more problems from blasting and another big hole in the ground.
Nearby business owner Al Bisogno claimed that the lack of complaints being formally reported were due to homeowners' fear of their insurance being cancelled due to damage allegedly from blasting. This was testimony he made third hand after speaking with homeowners who either did not attend the hearing or did not get up to speak on their own behalf.
Page 3 of 3 - According to Magruder's representative, engineer Matt Marschke, all blasts are recorded with a seismograph and have not exceeded state standards though Robinson then claimed that the seismograph testing was not being done properly.
With timed blasts, there has also been no more fly rock outside of the quarry since Magruder took over, Marschke said.
While admitting that a bad operator had certainly been at the site, Marschke said the quarry is now in compliance and that the proposal is an attempt by Magruder to leave the current quarry site in a financially feasible way without removing all of the marketable rock. By flattening the 60 acre site, the property would have significant value for development, he said, especially in light of recent growth in the Sunrise Beach area.
"The rock is too valuable to just stop now," Marschke said.
He indicated they might also be willing to reduce the zoning request to medium impact commercial (B-2) if that was preferable to the county and village which would likely need to annex a commercial development at the site to provide water and sewer services
If the current proposal in question is denied, Marschke said the quarry at the existing location would continue and would just go deeper instead of going out with their state permit allowing them at least 20 more years of operations.
That could leave the area with an unusable large hole in the ground with no value that would be detrimental to property values in the area in addition to possibly being a public safety concern, the application states.
Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Land Reclamation Commission only requires the quarry operator to seed and mulch the site after mining ceases.
"The end goal is to increase the tax base with a new commercial for the community and mitigate the current blight of the existing quarry," Hathaway commented after the hearing.
A similar proposal was made to the the Village of Sunrise Beach in 2009. That proposal included moving Eddie Ave. to quarry out further with the stated intent to then develop the existing location as a commercial site. The Sunrise Beach Board of Trustees denied the proposal after residents in the area protested the proposal.
A temporary asphalt plant proposed at the existing quarry site was denied by Sunrise Beach earlier this year.