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story.lead_photo.caption FILE PHOTO The Bentonville City Hall building.

BENTONVILLE -- Benton County's Planning Board on Wednesday voted unanimously to move discussion of a proposed limestone quarry back two weeks.

The quarry site is at 1425 N. Old Wire Road where red dirt is taken from the Cross Hollows mine. The area is just northeast of Lowell. Parts of the 135 acres owned by David Covington are laid out in sections of 10 acres. Each 10-acre parcel represents a five-year operating period for limestone production, according to the Planning Department's executive summary on the proposed project. Anchor Stone from Tulsa, Okla., would lease the land and quarry the stone.

Circuit Judge Robin Green's courtroom, where the meeting was held, overflowed with residents. Many wore T-shirts with the words "Please Vote No. Stop The Quarry." Others wore red buttons that said, "Don't Blast Our Past."

Tim Sorey with Sand Creek Engineering told the Planning Board more time was needed to get additional information to the Planning Department. Sand Creek represents Anchor Stone at the Planning Board meetings. The applicant asked for a postponement Nov. 30.

Planners tabled discussion of the proposal at their Nov. 7 meeting after Anchor Stone said it would help the county maintain a 6,000-foot portion of North Old Wire Road near the quarry. Any road work would have to be approved by County Judge Barry Moehring because he's in charge of the Road Department. Planners also asked Anchor Stone to do a traffic study. The study has been turned into the Planning Department, and is being reviewed by Josh Beam, an engineer with the Road Department, Planning Director Taylor Reamer said Wednesday afternoon. Any road plan would come after an analysis of the traffic study, Reamer said.

The Planning Board briefly discussed voting to open public comment Wednesday night or wait until the next meeting to allow public comment since there were no new items up for review.

At one point during the discussion, Planning Board Chairman Ron Homeyer asked those who were opposed to the quarry to stand. The crowd in the courtroom rose in unison.

Board member Bob Bracy suggested it would be best to table the issue again until information from the traffic study would be available. The board followed with a 7-0 vote to push the item back again.

A yellow colored mailer against the quarry was sent out to residents in the Lowell area this week. The mailer states the quarry would contaminate water wells, damage a part of the Trail of Tears and bring increased quarry truck traffic. Many who attended Wednesday night's meeting carried the mailer with them.

It's estimated 35 to 50 dump trucks a day would haul limestone from the quarry depending on the size and location of a particular project, Sorey said previously. A loaded truck would weigh more than 20 tons, Sorey said.

A rock crusher and blasting are part of the project, according to planning documents. Blasting would be done once a month. Blasting usually happens in the late morning or early afternoon, Sorey said.

The quarry would operate from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the summer and from daylight to dusk in the winter, according to planning documents.

Cindy McFarland, who lives as 1226 N. Old Wire Road, was one of the first residents to arrive at the courtroom Wednesday night.

"There are a lot of questions we as a collective group have," she said. "We are working to fight this the whole way. We plan to fight it even if it gets approved."

The Planning Board's next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 19 in Judge Green's courtroom.

NW News on 12/06/2018

Print Headline: Quarry proposal pushed back

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