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Developer sues after Georgia county blocks rock quarry

January 16, 2021 GMT

CARROLLTON, Ga. (AP) — An Alabama company is suing a west Georgia county for blocking a planned rock quarry.

Green Rock LLC of Birmingham planned a 360-acre (145-hectare) quarry near Whitesburg, southwest of Atlanta. Residents opposed the move, as did environmentalists who feared the quarry would harm the Chattahoochee River.

Disputes over quarries are frequent in counties surrounding Atlanta, where development keeps demand for aggregates high. Residents dislike the noise, dust and truck traffic that the rock mines bring.

The company sued Carroll County last month, The Times-Georgian of Carrollton reports, saying commissioners improperly changed the county’s zoning rules in August to keep the quarry from getting a zoning certificate. Without that document, Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division wouldn’t give Green Rock a mining permit.

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The lawsuit says the county’s new rules banning buildings and machines within 1,000 feet (300 meters) of property lines “renders it impossible” for Green Rock to operate the quarry. Carroll County’s attorney, Stacey Blackmon, originally told the developer in May that if the development met the guidelines of the county’s ordinance, and no machinery was present within 200 feet (60 meters) of any property line, the quarry was permitted, according to the suit.

Green Rock wants the judge to allow the quarry to go ahead.

Carroll County enacted a 60-day moratorium on permits for land disturbance or removal of minerals, and in August banned quarries on land zoned for agriculture, allowing them only in industrial zones. In November, Green Rock says the county denied its certificate of zoning compliance.

The lawsuit says there’s no clear appeal of the denial, making the county’s process “constitutionally deficient.”

Green Rock says it spent $300,000 to assess and develop the property.