Quarry operation will continue by Florence

After a significant length of time discussing what seemed to be two different issues, Marion County Commission approved two conditional use permits Monday for Harshman Construction to continue quarrying operations at two sites on Yarrow Road.

Robert Sellers of rural Florence, filed an appeal regarding the permits that would allow expansion of the rock quarry business.

Sellers' main objection was the reclamation process when the land stripping was completed.

"We just don't want another eyesore out there," Sellers said. He said the county's regulations were approved in 1997 and since then there have been changes in mining operations and requirements on the state level.

The state issues permits for rock quarries, requiring owners to meet stringent guidelines.

Owner Warren Harshman told the commission that the state would pull his (rock) crushing permit if he did not follow reclamation requirements on other properties.

He continued that his company owns/operates 15 other quarry locations and all sites are in compliance.

Harshman explained that reclamation requires him to have independent piles of rock and dirt, banks have to be sloped 3:1, and the land must be left in a manner that is pleasing to the eye in appearance and in agreement with the landowner.

He continued that the land that was quarried by Harshman and owned by an individual with the last name of Hayes now is being used as a salvage operation.

"It's an important time right now to make sure Marion County has rock reserves for the future," Harshman said.

Sellers said he did not believe there was sufficient materials to make the 3:1 slope and wanted more time to investigate. He continued that he wanted the county to impose more regulations.

The commission determined that Harshman Construction was following state and county regulations and did not want to impede rock production.

Sellers continued to argue that there was no time line or plan for closure, and he was concerned about the environmental impact.

Harshman responded that there was sufficient material on an adjoining property which could be used. He also agreed to have the west side of the Hayes property reclaimed within two years.

He further explained that as the land is stripped for rock, another crew follows to reclaim or make the required sloping and cover with material.

The commission approved both conditional use permits with the conditions that the west half of the Hayes property is reclaimed within two years and if an east-west road is used by the construction company, the company would maintain it.