October 6, 2008

Quarry Expansion Planned Near Wandermere Estates

By McLean, Mike

Spokane Valley-based Central Pre-Mix Concrete Co. says it plans to expand a basalt quarry on a square mile of property it owns in the Wandermere area north of Spokane.

The property is located east of the north end of Perry Street and north of Winger Road. It's just east of Wandermere Estates, a 190- lot upscale residential development.

Central Pre-Mix has been mining the quarry for more than 50 years, says Dwight Hume, a Spokane land-use consultant hired by Central Pre-Mix.

The county designated the entire 160-acre parcel there as a mineral resource in 2002 in its comprehensive land use plan, but approved zoning for mining only the 40-acre portion of the property being mined then. The rest is under a zoning designation called urban reserve.

"Any future expansion of mining has to go through a public- hearing process," Hume says.

On Sept. 4, Spokane County's hearing examiner heard Central Pre- Mix's request to reclassify the zoning on about 120 acres to mineral lands and is expected to make a decision in about a month, Hume says.

He estimates that the property contains 6 million to 7 million cubic yards of material, and that the property that hasn't been zoned for mining would be mined in three roughly 40-acre phases. The basalt rock mined there is crushed at the quarry into aggregate, which is used in concrete, asphalt, and roadbed construction.

Depending on demand for aggregate, "it could be mined for another 50 years," he says.

Central Pre-Mix's plan also must be approved by state regulators, Hume says.

The Washington state Department of Natural Resources requires a reclamation plan before a new phase can be tapped. Central Pre-Mix, however, can't file a reclamation plan with the state until the land is zoned to allow mining, he says.

He asserts such mining is the state's preferred use for the property. The state's Growth Management Act requires that mineral resources be depleted before moving out of the location," Hume says.

Tammy Jones, a senior planner with the county, says that although the proposed expansion of mining on the property would require additional permitting, most other uses would be inconsistent with the county's comprehensive plan.

"It probably would be difficult for the land to be used in any other way," Jones says.

Hume says Central Pre-Mix plans to improve the quarry's entry way to mitigate effects it might have on neighbors.

Copyright Northwest Business Press Inc. Sep 11, 2008

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