GAINESVILLE - Hall County Commissioners unanimously sided with Hanson Aggregates LLC Thursday night in its request to rezone 113 acres for eventual rock quarry expansion in Southeast Hall County.
At least seven nearby homeowners protested that expansion, claiming the quarry was already causing damage to structures and wells. Commissioner Scott Gibbs made the motion to approve the rezoning.
"If we continue to grow we have to have those types of raw materials in order to further grow the county," Gibbs said. "I don't think you will see rock being taken out of this area for 10 or 15 years. When you locate next to a rock quarry you've got to assume it's going to grow at some point, it's not going to go away."
Gibbs said Hanson has proved to be a good corporate citizen over its 60 years in the county with precautions in place to prevent damage. Hanson also offered programs to repair structures and replace wells if blasting did cause any damage.
Mike Nieznany lives near the quarry in Southeast Hall County and says blast vibrations broke souvenir dinner plates. He also asked why Hanson was in such a hurry to rezone the property when it probably would not be used for several years
"What is their hurry to lease all this extra land and when they've got 21 more years of rock where they're working at right now," Nieznany asked. "They're paying for the experts. If our neighborhood had the money to come up with our experts I can guarantee you it would be a totally different thing from what they are saying."
Hanson also promised to build extensive buffers and a berm to conceal the quarry expansion and agreed to delay berm construction until the ground is disturbed.