When the vote of the planning commission was complete, there was an outburst from a man in the audience over the impact of the rezoning to the property values in the neighborhood.

Proposed industrial zoning for a rock quarry expansion in the Sunrise Beach area got a recommendation from the Camden County Planning Commission, clearing its first hurdle Wednesday evening.

With six of eight planning commissioners present December 20, 2017, the board voted in favor of rezoning 30 acres at Highway 5 and Tree Lane adjacent to the existing 30-acre quarry in the Village of Sunrise Beach that is operated by Magruder Companies. The property up for rezoning is currently zoned agriculture-residential.

Planning Commissioner John Mackey was the lone nay against the rezoning, however the Sunrise Beach Board of Trustees had previously also weighed in against the rezoning in a separate process. The village has an intergovernmental agreement with the county, giving the village the opportunity to have a formal opinion in rezoning cases within one and a half miles of the city limits. The village’s main point against the rezoning was that their comprehensive master plan had identified this area for commercial development rather than industrial.

With the public hearing held in November, several home, business and property owners in the area around the quarry sites were on hand for the December 20 meeting but were not allowed to speak on the record as the public hearing portion of the case had been legally closed.

When the vote of the planning commission was complete, there was an outburst from a man in the audience over the impact of the rezoning to the property values in the neighborhood.

In discussion amongst the planning commissioners and in their questioning of applicant Clark Bollinger and engineer Matt Marschke, Magruder representatives, it became more and more apparent through the course of the meeting that many commissioners were leaning toward the rezoning due to potential pitfalls from the quarry corkscrewing further down at its existing site and from related rising expenses for limestone aggregate having an impact on development and road construction costs for Camden County.

Magruder representatives have promised to create and maintain a flat, useable elevation across the two 30-acre sites where they propose to quarry for the next 35 years.

Engineer Matt Marschke indicated they would also place plat restrictions on the properties so that the industrial site would only be used for quarrying and no other industrial use. Without the horizontal expansion to the south, Bollinger had said the company would use a corkscrew technique, a more expensive method, to continue quarrying down at the existing location.

Regulated mainly by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Division of Fire Safety, quarries have limited blasting regulations, but no depth limitation in the state of Missouri. Instead permits from MDNR are based on the type of mineral being mined.

While it is possible to hit a water table while mining, it is relatively rare in Missouri, according to state officials. However, there is no law against. If the quarry were to hit the water table by going deeper, the water can be pumped out while mining operations continue.

At the end of the corkscrewing process, however, would just be a large deep pond left. 

Neighbors didn’t buy into the company's proposal, and asked the planning commission in November to recommend against the rezoning due to concerns over blasting, property values and general safety concerns.

The planning commission is not the last word though. The Camden County Commission has final authority over zoning cases. It will hold a public hearing on the case on January 18, 2018.