FLOWERY BRANCH - Flowery Branch City Council Thursday night on first reading voted to annex and rezone 41 acres of land requested by Vulcan Construction Materials, which owns a large quarry already in the city limits.
Vulcan wants to extend the quarry's life by taking in the aggregate-rich land bordered by Hog Mountain Road, where several residents are concerned about the quarry's impact. Council heard from a room full of residents and Vulcan representatives during a nearly two hour public hearing; the final vote on Vulcan's request is set for April 3rd.
The home owners let their feelings be known. Debbie Callahan said council approval would put quarry operations just across Hog Mountain Road from her home and only about 200-300 feet away.
"We would ask that you would deny Vulcan's request all together, but we would ask that you would definitely deny it as it currently stands," Callahan said.
Mike Callahan followed his wife to the speaker's podium to add to the protest. He cited the impact it would have on his property value.
"Proximity makes a difference," Callahan said. "That blast is going to be 1500 feet away or is it going to be two or three hundred feet away. It makes a very real difference."
Callahan expressed the hope that Vulcan would be willing to provide adequate buffers and even amenities at buffer areas such as walking trails and small parks.
Vulcan representatives said there would be little if any negative impact from their expansion. Human Resources Vice President Jimmy Fleming down played worries about the effect on water wells, rock blasting and plunging property values.
"If you operate a quarry properly, you can operate a quarry in such a way that it will not diminish property values," Fleming said.
Fleming added that Vulcan would be willing to work with the residents.
As he made the motion for first reading approval of Vulcan's request, Councilman Joe Anglin did so with the provision that there would be continuing discussion with the home owners. Councilman Fred Richards said he believed both sides would come to an agreement.