Quarry proposed alongside Chattahoochee River slowed by Carroll County moratoriumA proposed quarry in Carroll County would be built alongside the Chattahoochee River on a site across from Serenbe and the city of Chattahoochee Hills. File/Credit: Google Earth, David Pendered
By David Pendered
Residents’ opposition to a proposed rock quarry that’s to be located across the Chattahoochee River from South Fulton County has prompted Carroll County to issue a moratorium on new quarries and to start revising regulations on mining sites.
The proposed quarry would be in Carroll County, across the Chattahoochee River from the center of Chattahoochee Hills, the city that’s home of the Serenbe development.
The project has been slowed by a 60-day moratorium on the issuance of land disturbance permits. The moratorium was approved unanimously July 7 by the Carroll County Board of Commissioners. The moratorium can be extended; the document states the “initial” moratorium extends 60 days from the date of passage.
The resolution signed by Carroll Chairman Michelle Morgan makes clear the county’s intent to revise regulations on quarries. The proposed site is zoned agriculture, not industrial, providing few regulatory tools to oversee operations:
- “[O]ut of an abundance of caution, the Board of Commissioners wishes to limit applications and land disturbance permits issued in agricultural districts for uses activities associated with mining sites for the removal of minerals and natural materials for a sixty (60) day period during such time the Carroll County staff will draft revisions to and complete required advertising for the Carroll County Zoning Ordinance and Development Regulations for approval, consideration and implementation.”
The resolution addresses the immediate concerns raised by the hastily formed Citizens Opposed to Carroll County Rock Quarry, which appears to have posted its first message on a Facebook page on June 18. A notice for a July 2 meeting makes clear the sentiments of its members:
- “The negative effects of this proposed quarry are devastating to our community and the river!!! Please join us for a discussion to STOP THE QUARRY at Banning Mills on July 2 at 6:00. If you have any experience with this type of opposition please let us know! We’re going to need everyone to rally together as one and let them know that we will not allow this to come in and destroy the land that we love!!”
Meanwhile, a plan to extract sand from land near the Okefenokee Swamp remains pending before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Opponents of the plan include environmental advocates who contend the mining operation could damage the swamp and its related waters, including the Floridan Aquifer and St. Marys and Suwanee rivers.
The proposed quarry in Carroll County is to be located within a bend in the Chattahoochee River, near the junction of Fulton, Carroll and Coweta counties. The site is on the western bank of the Chattahoochee River, on land that abuts the river. Historic Banning Mills, the ghost textile mill being retooled into an attraction, is a short distance to the west.
The developer predicts the quarry will affect the protected river corridor and floodplains, according to documents filed with the state:
- The dump pile for waste material to be scraped from land above the valuable rock is to be located about 1,000 feet north of the river, according to a map provided by the developer.
- The quarry is to be located less than 1,000 feet north of Carnes Lake, according to the developer’s map.
The developer notified of the quarry’s expected environmental impacts in the Development of Regional Impact statement filed with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
About 50 truckloads of material each day will be transported out of the quarry site during its peak operation. Transportation improvements will be needed, but the type of improvement has not been determined, according to the DRI.
This portion of Carroll County is rural and much of the area is zoned for agricultural uses.
The quarry is to cover about 360 acres, according to the DRI. This site is part of a tract of land that covers 508.7 acres owned by Muddy Waters Land and Timber, LLC., according to a report by Carroll County’s Tax Assessor.
The developer of the project is Green Rock, LLC. The company lists an address in Norcross on the DRI. A company by that names lists an address in Cobb County in its business records on file with the Georgia Secretary of State.
Tax records show the property has been in the hands of industry and real estate interests since at least 1993. Past owners have included Inland Container Corp., and Temple Inland Land and Timber Inc. Multiple parcels have been involved in multiple sales, according to records of this parcel identification number. The most recent sale was for $6.7 million in March 2017.
The property value of the quarry at its build-out is projected to be $20 million. The annual taxes to be paid to the county amount to $522,000, according to the DRI.