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Quarry in Forsyth County wants to set noise level

New residential development may hinder quarry's sound compliance

Area resident Rob Patnude pinpoints on a map where his home is located in relation to the Bluegrass Materials Company quarry. (click for larger version)

August 31, 2013
FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — A rock quarry in south Forsyth County is asking for a variance to allow their facility to operate at a sound frequency of 15 decibels louder than county code allows — 60 decibels.

On Aug. 26, Bluegrass Materials Co. held a meeting with community residents to address concerns and explain the company's reasoning in requesting the sound variance to be 75 decibels rather than 60 decibels.

Attorney John Kendall, the applicant for the noise variance, said the request was needed because of a recent residential development — 88 Daves Creek — approved by the county for 247 homes located adjacent to the quarry.

"That property was agricultural and the county does not have a noise decibel rating for agricultural," Kendall said. "Now the property is zoned residential, making it a 60 decibel level requirement."

Kendall said the request for 75 decibel levels for a 12-hour period, the duration of sound measurement under county code. They had originally requested 80 decibels, but on Aug. 29, issued a statement saying they would lower their variance request.

"We do not request a sound level greater than what the quarry has always operated," Kendall said. "However, this variance is necessary because the noise created by the quarry is being augmented by the ambient noise originating from Ronald Reagan Boulevard."

The purpose of county code is to control noise levels, but Kendall said the code does not address ambient noise.

"We are not asking to get louder," Kendall said. "We are asking for the ability to always be compliant with the ordinances."

Neighboring residents at the Aug. 26 meeting (metered by sound experts to be at a level of 71 decibels) were told if the sound variance is denied, Bluegrass will continue to operate, but in violation.

"It's simply not the right thing to do," said Cort Dondero, Bluegrass Materials chief operations officer.

Dondero said there's a lack of information and inaccurate information spreading in the community.

Bluegrass has 14 production facilities throughout the southeast and manufactures concrete blocks at two of them in eastern Kentucky.

In March, Bluegrass purchased the 568-acre facility from LaFarge Aggregates.

"There's no cement manufactured on site here, anywhere," Dondero said. "We do not deliver ready-mix, we do not manufacture asphalt or deliver asphalt."

The facility houses six tenants connected with the construction industry, he said.

"All we do is sell them, rock, crushed stone that is used in their different business," Dondero said.

On Sept. 3 the Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a public hearing on the sound variance.

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Tags: Government & News & Crime

  1. report print email
    Noise levels
    September 05, 2013 | 02:43 PM

    The quarry was there before the area became residential. Whose rights are being violated?

    David Rudy
  2. report print email
    Zoning Board
    September 06, 2013 | 02:02 PM

    Should it not be a common practice that when a zoning board changes the zoning on a property that they consider the impact on adjacent property? Shouldn't we have required the residential area to handle the exception instead since the business was already there and operating? Why did the builder not foresee this? It does not seem to be fair play to change the rules on an established business. With the economic woes we are seeing, it seems we should be a bit friendlier to business. I applaud them for trying to do the right thing though they really shouldn't have to.

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