Quarry ordinance passes council 6-2

Two ordinances that set regulations on quarry and mining operations passed the City Council in a vote 6-2 on Tuesday night.

Alderman Bobby Ferrell and Kyle Cook voted against both ordinances.

Specifically, the ordinances dictate the hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The ordinances also limits the quarries to 24 blasting days a year. Furthermore, those 24 days would have to be on the first and third Wednesday of the month.

Darin Matson, a representative from one of the quarries, said limiting the number of blasting days would force the companies to use stronger, more intense blasts to keep the same workload. Currently, his company chooses to blast at half of the state regulation, he said.

Stephen Giles, an attorney for Rogers Group, challenged the city’s jurisdiction to set these regulations.

“If this goes forward in its current form, we’re going to have to file a lawsuit,” Giles said.

Ward 4 council members Shirley Lucas and Sarah Lewis drafted the ordinances after neighbors who live near the quarry and mining operations complained that the noise and blasting were cutting away at their quality of life.

Ferrell, who represents Ward 3, said the ordinance was an overreaction to the nuisance and economic concerns should be kept in mind.

“The primary aspect of economic development is retention of existing industry,” Ferrell said. “I think there are some things involved in these ordinances that are unreasonable.”

The council first heard this ordinance at a meeting in early September, when the aldermen decided to send it back to the ordinance review committee.

In other business, the council unanimously approved the 2009 millage levy, which is the same as the previous year and set at 4.1 mills.

Mary Robbins is a guest contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. Mary declared Fayetteville as her hometown upon moving here for college. She is a Journalism graduate who enjoys live music, the outdoors and attending city council meetings. For more of Mary’s contributions, visit her author page.