An environmental organization is raising concerns about how a proposed rock quarry north of Whitesburg could negatively impact the nearby Chattahoochee River.
Whitesburg residents learned last week of a developer’s proposal to build a rock quarry on approximately 360 acres at the intersection of Black Dirt and Hutcheson Ferry Roads.
The developer, Charleston, South Carolina-based Green Rock, LLC, estimates the value of the property to be $20 million.
That is according to a copy of a June 8 memo obtained by the Times-Georgian by Three Rivers Regional Commission Planner Kimberly Dutton. Concerned residents can email her at ksdut email@example.com with their questions.
Residents initially had 15 days to submit their comments until June 23, but that period has been extended 60 days.
Dutton wrote in an email on Friday that she has received more than 90 comments about the proposal. She added she does not know what the Three Rivers Commission can do to halt the project since the organization can only review the plans.
The Three Rivers Regional Commission is a 10-county planning organization that includes Carroll and helps facilitate workforce development, transportation and regional planning with government officials.
Because the development will affect protected river corridors and floodplains, according to the Three Rivers memo, the LaGrange-based Chattahoochee Riverkeeper organization sent a memo this week to Three Rivers asking for the protection of the Chattahoochee.
A copy of the memo by the Riverkeeper’s General Counsel Kevin Jeselnik obtained by the newspaper says the rock quarry would “significantly impact” the river and its tributaries.
Established in 1994, the Riverkeeper organization’s mission is to advocate for and secure the protection of the Chattahoochee as well as its lakes, tributaries and watershed.
The organization shares the concerns of Whitesburg residents over blasting as well as the aquatic life that live in the river.
“Chattahoochee Riverkeeper appreciates the Three Rivers Regional Commission’s review of this proposed quarry project as a Development of Regional Impact,” the memo said.
“CRK believes there is potential for this project to significantly impact the Chattahoochee River and tributaries adjacent to and nearby the development site. As such, we request that the Commission evaluate and provide recommendations to minimize any impacts on local and neighboring communities.”
The document said the organization “has several questions” concerning the potential impacts in the surrounding area. These questions range from how the quarry’s activities could potentially lead to erosion and how the site will be managed, to the effects on area residents and animals.
A recreation corridor has been proposed by the Chattahoochee Riverlands initiative, which is a partnership between the Trust for Public Land, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the City of Atlanta and Cobb County.
The public boat ramp at Moore’s Bridge Park in Whitesburg would serve as a transition point between land and water for stream access and a water trail, according to the memo.
“It is critical that the water quality in this region of the river be protected and that any new regional developments — and any facility’s wastewater and storm water management — not negatively impact water quality in the watershed.”
Whitesburg Mayor Amy Williford, former District 5 Commissioner Kevin Jackson and current District 5 Commissioner Ernest Reynolds each told the newspaper last week they oppose the project.
Reynolds said he is working with county officials to change the county’s zoning ordinance related to permitted uses on agricultural land. The proposed site is zoned agricultural, which means the project does not need to be presented to the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission or Board of Commissioners for approval.
Permitted uses on agricultural land include the development of natural resources, including the removal of minerals and natural materials provided that no machinery used for that removal is located less than 200 feet from any property line, according to the county’s zoning ordinance.
Jackson, a Whitesburg resident, said those living near the proposed site and in town were not notified of the project until 10-12 days after county leaders learned of the proposal.
A Facebook page called “Citizens Opposed to Carroll County Rock Quarry” was also created on June 18 to keep area residents informed about the project.