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An open letter to John Baker regarding concrete plant issues

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By The Staff

I am writing to you in reference to your comments made at the Nov. 26 County Council meeting, as quoted in the Dec. 5 issue of Carolina Gateway. I am also copying as many of the county officials that I have addresses, in addition to the Carolina Gateway. You and I have previously met and discussed some of these concerns in regard to your proposed nuisance ordinance.

From the quotes in the paper, it appears that you believe this to be a Brookchase-only issue. I reside in the neighborhood of Lakeview Landing. This neighborhood has been occupied since 1996. This is prior to there being the first concrete company in the referenced light industrial park. From the paper’s quotes, I cannot determine if you disagree with the county funding the noise measurements and/or the county being sued. Either way, the residents of Lakeview Landing have a great stake in these matters. The Lakeview Landing neighborhood suffers from all the same issues as does Brookchase, with the possible exception of vibration violations. (I believe that will change as soon as CEMEX opens.) Most of our homes are over a half-mile or more from the concrete plants.

Are you implying that Lakeview Landing residents did not conduct “due diligence” or acted “dumb” when purchasing our homes? If so, then at what distance from a light industrial park is it acceptable to own a home? If you say greater than a half-mile, do you then agree that a school should be at a greater distance than a half-mile? I ask because the Indian Land schools complex is a half-mile from the concrete plants.

If our homes and families are expected to suffer the current fly ash damages due to the distance, than so to is the school system and its students. Did the parents of all the school children not perform “due diligence” when enrolling them?

After 12 years of inhaling fly ash dust, what is to become of their health? Again, if you say greater than a half-mile, then why did the county zone residential and light industrial so close to each other?

Did we not conduct “due diligence” in believing that the local government would enforce ordinance requirements? If the concrete companies operated within the Unified Development Ordinance, much of the conflict would not exist.

Did we not conduct “due diligence” when believing our state and federal laws regarding pollutants would be upheld and enforced?

I put it to you that the county did not conduct “due diligence” in allowing residential and light industrial to be in such close proximity.

I believe the county did not conduct “due diligence” in allowing batch concrete operations to exist in areas of light industrial zoning.

I believe the concrete companies did not conduct “due diligence” when considering to operate in such close proximity to residential, knowing in advance that their operations would not function within the UDO requirements, knowing in advance the adverse impact their industry has upon neighboring residents.

I believe you did not conduct “due diligence” prior to inferring that those at odds with the concrete plants had been “dumb” when purchasing their homes. In an e-mail you sent on Oct. 23, you state “I (John Baker) served on the Lancaster County Planning Commission about six-seven years ago. However, I became involved in the issues when Lancaster County began drafting its zoning ordinance pursuant to the Local Government Comprehensive Planning Enabling Act of 1994, and have been involved ever since.”

As myself and others dig through the multitude of minutes of various county meetings, I wonder if we will discover that you were party to the actions that made these problems possible.

The “irresponsibility,” fiscal or otherwise, does not rest upon the residents near the light industrial park. It rests upon those charged with preventing such an abomination to have occurred.

Scott Bruntmyer

Lakeview Landing