Thursday, September 07, 2000

Boone backs off ban on underground mining




By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BURLINGTON — Members of Boone County Fiscal Court have done an about-face, deciding Tuesday to reverse their own decision to block future bids to locate underground mines in the county.

        At a meeting last week, fiscal court passed a resolu tion to ban future underground mining. At the same meeting, fiscal court rejected a proposal by Hilltop Basic Resources Inc. of Cincinnati to locate an underground limestone mine in western Boone County.

        Martin Marietta Inc., which has been trying to persuade county officials to allow a limestone mine in the county since 1993, is suing county officials, claiming a rights violation when the fiscal court rejected its zone change.

        “We decided that due to the pending litigation from Martin Marietta and possible litigation from Hilltop, that it was not wise to ask the planning commission to abolish the language at this time,” Judge-executive Gary Moore said.

        The now defunct resolution recommended that the county's Planning and Zoning Commission look at repealing the 1997 mandate that requires a planning designation for industrial mining. Commissioner Robert Hay suggested getting rid of I-4 zoning, which allows under ground mining.

        Boone County Attorney Larry Crigler and Richard Murphy, a Lexington planning and zoning expert, recommended the county withdraw the resolution. Mr. Murphy, who was hired earlier this year after Martin Marietta filed its suit, was also hired for the Hilltop issue.

        In addition to dealing with the Martin Marietta lawsuit, Mr. Moore said, “We will just wait and see where Hilltop goes from here.”

        Hilltop would have located all operations below ground, except for 12 acres. Hilltop would have used barges to ship mined limestone along the Ohio River to reduce noise and dust.

       



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