The case was tabled for further review due to the opposition. Commissioners Neusche and Tom Spradling also requested a visit to the quarry next week to experience a blast.

The people have spoken, before multiple boards, and now the Camden County Planning Commission has much to ponder before it makes a recommendation on a proposed rezoning for a quarry expansion.

Their recommendation and final decision by the Camden County Commission will impact southern Sunrise Beach for decades to come and will literally mold the landscape of the future here.

The Village of Sunrise Beach Planning Commission and Board of Trustees in recent weeks have held hearings on the issue during which they have heard numerous citizens express concerns and issues with the Magruder Limestone’s proposal to rezone 30 acres at Highway 5 and Tree Lane from agricultural-residential to industrial. The tract, located in the county, is adjacent to an existing quarry operated by Magruder that is in the village.

On Wednesday, the Camden County Planning Commission held its hearing on the rezoning application.

After nearly two hours of testimony, Chairman Jacob Neusche boiled the issue down to two options:

1. Deny the requested industrial zoning for the horizontal expansion of the quarry. This could mean Magruder would “corkscrew” farther down in its mining operations at its adjacent existing quarry in the Village of Sunrise Beach, leaving a deep and essentially undevelopable hole along Highway 5. Additionally, mining farther down would increase the cost of the aggregate Magruder sells, thereby increasing costs to their customers which include Camden County Road & Bridge. However, the property proposed for expansion - mainly the top of a hill - would remain open to development in the immediate future, though it is currently zoned agriculture-residential.

2. Approve the requested industrial zoning. Magruder Limestone has said it would legally bind the property through the deed to limit the depth. The current 30-acre quarry property is at an elevation now that, while well below the highway, would still have potential for development, according to Magruder representatives. It would mean the property of proposed expansion would likely not be open to commercial development for the next 35 years - the estimated length of time it would take to mine the land to the same level as the existing quarry. The rezoning would also place an industrial district along an area the village had planned to be commercial.

Nearby residents and small business owners did not see the issue so succinctly.

They have asked both the Sunrise Beach and Camden County boards to limit the footprint of the quarry, concerned about blasting moving nearer and a related drop in residential property values for the vicinity.

Regardless of the real effect of blasting on structures, residential property values would be impacted by the vicinity of the quarry noise and dust and the vibration that can be felt during a blast, according to residents.

While numerous people testified to the county planning commission, there were no new incidents of problems from blasting that were presented.

The quarry has long been contentious since before the existing quarry was annexed into the village around 2004. However, public complaints died down after Missouri enacted a blasting ordinance in 2007, which required blasters to be licensed, and Magruder took over from the previous operator.

A blasting operator at Magruder’s Sunrise Beach quarry, Keith Henderson, cited studies from the U.S. Bureau of Mines related to the impact of different levels of blasting and subsequent vibration levels on structures. These studies indicated that the level of blasting Magruder says it has and is doing would not damage houses in the area.

The state blasting ordinance also requires the quarry to monitor and record every blast to ensure compliance with acceptable levels, according to Magruder representatives.

Residents expressed doubt about these studies correlation to this specific site, and also expressed concern that some of the homes in the vicinity are modular and may not be built as sturdily as the homes in the study.

While the Village of Sunrise Beach and neighboring residents and businesses were and remain opposed to the quarry expansion, there were a few others who spoke to the need to maintain a quarry in the Sunrise Beach area for the sake of infrastructure costs and development.

Camden County Road & Bridge Administrator Lee Schuman, who sits on the planning commission, made a statement via a letter to the Camden County P&Z Office.

According to Schuman, a licensed professional engineer, his department purchased more than 35,000 tons of rock from the Magruder quarry in 2016 with approximately 18,000 tons of that going to repair roadways damaged by flooding in July 2015 and December 2015. So far in 2017, the county has purchased more than 17,000 tons.

Schuman considered the cost of going to another quarry if the Magruder site should close, though Magruder representative Clark Bollinger said they could go deeper.

According to Schuman, hauling material from another quarry in Linn Creek to the north district of the county would cause a 60 percent reduction in work due to increased cost and budget constraints. Bollinger indicated deeper mining operations would also cost more money.

On the other hand, Schuman’s letter also stated that Tree Lane and Highway 5 is a poor intersection and should not be used for industrial traffic.

The case was tabled for further review due to the opposition. Commissioners Neusche and Tom Spradling also requested a visit to the quarry next week to experience a blast.

The planning commisison is expected to make a recommendation at its December meeting. After that, the county commission will hold a hearing before making a final decision on the rezoning.