Wednesday afternoon was the Camden County Board of Adjustment's (BOA) turn to hear the proposal from Magruder Quarry & Equipment to quarry down to grade and develop a shopping center on 30 acres at Highway 5 and Tree Ln. that would also include another 30 acres immediately adjacent that is located within the Village of Sunrise Beach.
The 30 acres in the county is owned by Charles and Phyllis Turner and is currently zoned Agricultural-Residential (A-R) under county code.
The 30 acres in Sunrise Beach is owned by Harry Adrian and is currently operating as a quarry under Magruder. It is zoned general commercial (C-2) and is a non-conforming pre-existing use and is grandfathered under the city's zoning code.
The proposal includes utilizing material from the Turner property to bring the land of the existing quarry back up a little higher and make the two sides the same elevation.
The entire project area fronts Highway 5 with Eddie Ave. on the north and Tree Ln. and Westerner Rd. on the south.
There is no end user in negotiations or in mind at this time, according to Magruder representative Matt Marschke with Midwest Engineering. The proposal is intended to make both properties useable parcels of land at the end of mining operations, he said.
Surrounding zoning includes mostly single family residential to the south and west with some Agricultural-Residential (A-R) 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 the county's Unified Land Use Code, the BOA has the jurisdiction to issue a temporary special use permit for the mining portion of the proposal.
The public hearing for the permit was continued to the BOA's Aug. 28 meeting to await a decision from the Camden County Planning Commission on the rezoning of the Turner property.
A public hearing by the county planning commission was continued to its Aug. 21 meeting in order to get more information from the applicant.
The county requested a general traffic study, the amount of soil volume that is planned to be removed and a grading plan.
This information was requested to get 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, according to Camden County P&Z Administrator Don Hathaway.
The proposed special use permit to allow the mining operation would have a time limit, but the county is unsure at this time what limit is feasible to hold the quarry to.
Several residents and businesses in the area testified against the proposal both at the county planning commission hearing and the BOA hearing. Barbara Robinson, Francis Lattner, Al Bisogno, Kay Reeves and others expressed concerns about blasting and dust as well as the feasibility of the proposal, fearing the expansion would lead to more problems from blasting, another big hole in the ground and would extend the life of the quarry.
Page 2 of 3 - The quarry operations at the Sunrise Beach site have long been a contentious issue.
In 2007, the existing quarry was located within the county and sought under a different operator to rezone from A-R to A-1 (agricultural) that would have made the quarrying at the site a permissable use under the county code. The quarry then successfully sought annexation into the village which had no zoning at that time and got out from under county regulations.
At the recent hearings, neighbors testified to problems with the blasting and fly rock from the quarry under the previous operator going back to 2004 as well as some complaints since the quarry has come under Magruder around 2007-2008.
At some point after the quarry was annexed into Sunrise Beach, Magruder Limestone took over operations. The company has cleaned up the site to some extent and has had fewer reported complaints from the neighborhood.
But according to the residents that testified, blasting is still too intense at times.
Robinson said dust coming out of the quarry is still an issue, but she was too busy operating her business to file an official complaint with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources when she witnessed it occurring recently.
As the chair of the Sunrise Beach Quarry Accountability Committee, she said the group believes the quarry is nearing the water table and that soon it will become prohibitively expensive for quarry operations to continue or to continue without compromising the water system that individual wells draw from.
If the water table is breached, she said the group intends to file suit against Sunrise Beach as the liable entity for allowing the quarry operation along with Adrian as the property owner. According to Bisogno, homeowners are having their water tested now on a regular basis in preparation for the possible occurrence.
The members of the SBQAC believe that the intent is not to develop the location as a commercial site but is rather a move to expand the quarry operation outwards due to the shrinking viability of going further down.
This time, at the BOA meeting, Magruder spoke in defense of his operations and that they have tried to clean up and fix some of the issues left by the previous operator as well.
Magruder paid to fix the roof of a neighbor's shed damaged by fly rock and cleaned out the cove that was filling with sediment from quarry run-off.
Since taking over the current quarry site, Magruder said they are well under state blasting limits on every shot and keep records from seismograph readings. He said the existing blasted 16 times in 2012 and has blasted 10 times so far in 2013.
Magruder also claimed that he had only moved forward with this proposal after being approached by a county representative. The county representative - whom Magruder said he was not at liberty to name - reportedly asked Magruder to try to go forward with the project to mitigate the potential blight at the existing quarry once it is mined out.
Page 3 of 3 - According to Magruder, the existing quarry is at an elevation of 720-730 feet — still around 65 feet above the lake elevation of 662.
He estimated that there was approximately 6.3 million tons of rock left which could take 30-plus years to mine based on the annual sales average from the last three years.
The existing quarry sells about 100,000 tons a year, he said.
The proposal to the county initially estimated an elevation of 700 feet overall for the project.
At the BOA meeting, Magruder said they've come to realize that level is "excessive" and will likely change.
He estimated it could take around 15 years based on sales of 200,000 tons a year cutting the current blasting plan in half.
The 15-year timeframe, however, is not yet an official part of the permit application. Magruder said they would work out the elevation and grading and have a firm number soon.
The application initially sought B-3 zoning, the highest density commercial use in county regulations that is intended for big box stores. Since the planning commission hearing July 17, the applicant has downgraded the request to B-2, medium density commercial.
With the Urban Services Boundary Agreement between Sunrise Beach and Camden County, the village is allowed to officially comment on P&Z cases involving property within 1 1/2 miles of the village-county boundary.
The Sunrise Beach Board of Trustees recommended denial of the application at its July 8 meeting.
With opposition from the village, a two-thirds majority would be required for the county planning commission and county commission to pass the rezoning request. The BOA already requires a super-majority to pass a motion.
Because of the modification to the application — from B-3 to B-2 — Sunrise Beach plans to review the proposal again.
The village planning commission is scheduled to hear the case Aug. 5. They should have a recommendation to the board of trustees for a final vote at the trustees' Aug. 12 meeting.
It should be noted that 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.
Unlike the current plan, according to Village Planner Roger Corbin, the buildings in the 2009 were not in the hole of the existing quarry but along the edge. The Sunrise Beach Board of Trustees ultimately denied the proposal.