The St. Charles County Council has approved the expansion of a rock quarry northwest of Augusta, based on a number of conditions, including setbacks that provide buffer zones to protect nearby homeowners.
At its Oct. 24 meeting, the council unanimously approved a conditional use permit that will allow Schliermeier Quarry to expand into an 80-acre wooded tract south of the existing quarry, which is located about five miles northwest of Augusta on Femme Osage Creek Road.
Though no residents spoke on Oct. 24, the council had heard from nearby residents at its Oct. 11 meeting. Those residents worried about a loss of a buffer zone between the quarry and their homes, blasting at the site, nearby truck traffic and negative impacts on their property values.
Councilmembers took no action on the permit at the Oct. 11 meeting, giving residents and Philip Myers, with Myco Holdings LLC and the applicant for the permit, a chance to work out some compromises.
Councilmember Joe Brazil [Ward 2] said residents and Myers walked the property near the quarry and agreed to setbacks that limit the impact of quarry activities on adjacent properties. A “no-excavation zone” will surround much of the expanded quarry.
“I think this is a very fair compromise to make everyone happy,” Brazil said.
Myers told the council at its Oct. 11 meeting that the expansion will help to keep the quarry open. Operated since the 1950s, the quarry only has about 12-18 months of rock left. The quarry has five employees who would lose their jobs if there is no quarry expansion, Myers said.
Noting that traffic issues would not go away if the permit was rejected, Brazil said: “If you’re talking about truck traffic, the problem is if that quarry closes down, people are not going to stop construction projects, they are not going to stop building. It’s going to continue. All [a closure] means is that the trucks are going to go through Defiance.”
Gravel prices and hauling fees also may increase without the quarry and other jobs could be lost, Brazil said. He added that local trucking companies rely on the quarry.
Along with county regulations, Myers has to follow a host of federal and state guidelines that include site inspections, dust control, limits, water quality and emissions monitoring and proper equipment maintenance.
Other conditions for the permit in the county’s ordinance include material processed at the quarry has to come from the quarry, he must submit a site plan, blasting has to meet county and state guidelines and is limited to between 9 a.m. -3 p.m., Monday through Friday, with five blasts per week, unless waived. The quarry can operate between 6 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and between 6 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday.