The Board of Adjustment in a 5-to-1 vote denied Vulcan Materials' request to expand its underground limestone mining operation in southeastern Fayette County, citing excessive noise, truck traffic, dust, vibrations from blasting and environmental damage.
A contingent of neighbors spoke of damage to their houses from regular Vulcan blasting. They complained of dump trucks loaded with gravel — sometimes not properly covered — traveling too fast on Old Richmond Road, a two-lane country road with no shoulders or passing lane. The trucks are not compatible with sightseers, farm machinery and bicycles using the scenic road, they said.
Before she voted, Board of Adjustment member Jan Meyer said, "These people have put up with 50-years-plus of blasting that we don't really know what the effects of it are. To me that is a consideration."
She also expressed concern about the impact of blasting on Elk Lick Falls Creek and the underground water system in the area of karst topography.
Following the vote, company spokesman Carl Van Hoozier Jr., said, "Obviously, we are very disappointed. In six years, we've had only one complaint from neighbors. Now I'm a little concerned they are coming out of the woodwork."
Board member Jim Griggs made the motion to deny Vulcan's request based on five findings of fact, including that the existing mine has already caused irreparable damage to its property and that of surrounding neighbors.
Inadequate public facilities was another reason for disapproval, including no fire hydrants within 1,000 feet of the Vulcan property as required in the Comprehensive Plan, plus no emergency medical unit and only a single fire truck within a 9-mile radius.
Voting to deny the motion were Meyer, Griggs, Louis Stout, Kathryn Moore and Noel White.
The single member voting in favor of the Vulcan request was Thomas Glover.
Vulcan has mined limestone on property it owns off Old Richmond Road since 1958. Last year it requested a conditional-use permit to extend mining onto an adjoining 135 acres, part of Hidden Haven farm owned by developer Dennis Anderson.
Vulcan will continue mining at its existing location, Hoozier said, but will just go deeper. Vulcan's other active mine in Fayette County is Central Rock on Manchester Street. It owns an inactive mine on Georgetown Street.
Opponent Gloria Martin, who helped draft Fayette County's 1991 mining ordinance and owns a farm on Grimes Mill Road, said, "If you look at the law and their compliance with the law, I'm just surprised it was not a unanimous vote."
She argued that since 1991, Vulcan has failed to submit required information about the company and its mining operation to the city.