Council OKs heavy industrial ordinance

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By Jenny Hartley

Lancaster County Council is working on approving an ordinance that will keep concrete plants in heavy industrial areas and hopefully away from neighborhoods.

County Council unanimously passed first reading of an ordinance that will require concrete plants to locate in heavy industrial districts. Right now, they're allowed in both heavy and light industrial districts.

The change was prompted by the situation between Brookchase residents in Indian Land and the Blue Dot concrete plant adjacent to the neighborhood in Perimeter 521 Business Park.

Residents of Cole Creek Drive in Brookchase have addressed council several times about what they consider to be unbearable conditions created by the plant, like dust in the air and excessive noise during early morning hours.

There aren't a lot of heavy industrial areas in the county, and none in Indian Land, said County Planning Director Chris Karres.

Many overlapping uses are allowed in the two industrial districts, as manufacturing plants have changed over the years from factories that create noise and exhaust, to office-type buildings with no ill effects on nearby properties.

The ordinance change would not help the residents of Brookchase, but could help other residents in future developments.

County planning staff is working on a buffering ordinance that would extend the existing required 30-foot buffer around residential developments.

Council has turned down 100-foot and 60-foot buffer requirements in the past, but Karres said it's possible the situation at Brookchase could improve the chances of better buffer regulations being approved.

Meanwhile, Brookchase residents are still reporting excessive noise and dust coming from Blue Dot. Lakeview Landing residents are also complaining of noise and dust in their neighborhood from the plant.

"I have not had one full night's sleep since March 2007, worrying and waking up to extremely loud noises," Cole Creek Drive resident Ernest Garvin said in an e-mail to all seven County Council members last week.

Garvin said he has not heard from County Councilman Bryan Vaughn, the area's representative, but Councilman Larry Honeycutt e-mailed Lakeview Landing resident Tom Forbes on the issue.

Honeycutt said he would continue to do all he could for the community, even though the area is not in his district, because he's concerned about what he's seen going on there.

"I have been to this development several times over the past months and I have seen problems that do exist," Honeycutt wrote.

"You should know that DHEC and EPA have been involved. The county has talked with Blue Dot, Mr. (Steve) Willis (county administrator) has been in touch with our senators in Washington, noise tests have been taken on a routine basis, samples have been taken of fallout, which I saw on my last visit.

"I would hope in the very near future this problem is resolved, but only time will tell," Honeycutt wrote.

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