The state Land Use Board of Appeals ruled last week that Douglas County must reconsider its decision to allow a rock quarry to resume operations east of Glide.
The issue surrounds a quarry that Bjorn Vian wants to reopen after it was closed for 70 years. His plans involve mining for high quality basalt that can be used to create asphalt for county roads. But many neighbors of the project, including residents of a neighboring mobile home park, oppose the plan. The neighbors fear the quarry will damage water quality, pollute local wells, harm fish and create traffic hazards, dust and noise.
The Douglas County Planning Commission had initially rejected Vian’s request for a permit to reopen the quarry, but the Douglas County Board of Commissioners overturned that decision Jan. 16 and approved the permit.
Valynn Currie, a real estate agent who represents several neighboring property owners, appealed the decision to LUBA.
LUBA agreed with Currie, finding that the county’s decision wasn’t supported by substantial evidence. It said the county didn’t gather enough information about the ways surrounding property is being used to determine what impact the quarry operation would have on them.
GLIDE — A movement to block the reopening of a rock quarry east of Glide gathered steam Mond…
“The county must identify the surrounding uses, explain the characteristics of the surrounding uses and set forth the substantial evidence establishing that the applicable approval criteria are met with respect to air quality/dust, water quality, noise, wildlife, and farm and forest impacts,” LUBA wrote in its decision.
Currie was pleased with the LUBA decision and said she didn’t see how the quarry project would be able to go forward now. She believes the county would not be able to provide the evidence LUBA wanted to see that neighboring properties wouldn’t be harmed.
“I’m not sure they can fix it because most of it is how do they make that compatible with the other uses there, and it’s impossible,” she said.
She said she wished the county would have looked for the evidence of what the impact would be on area properties before making a decision, and said if they did they wouldn’t have supported the project. She said it took $26,000 in legal fees to fight the project. Part of that will be paid by community residents and part by Currie. It’s money she said she wished she didn’t have to spend, but she said she’s happy about the outcome.
“Hopefully it doesn’t rise its ugly head again, but if it does I guess we’ll have to beat it down,” she said.
Vian could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.