Sugar Creek limestone quarry plan dropped – 'back to the drawing board,' says mayor
Central Plains Cement and its partner companies have pulled back their proposal for a limestone quarry in Sugar Creek, a project that drew much citizen backlash at crowded public hearings. Residents said they were worried about noise, dust and heavy truck traffic.
The city of Sugar Creek posted Wednesday that Audubon, Central Plains' parent company, had withdrawn its rezoning and special-use permit applications for the quarry off Courtney-Atherton Road east of Missouri 291 “at this time.”
Mayor Mike Larson said it's possible Central Plains could come back with the project.
“What they finally came to the realization was, they could've done a better job presenting the information they had,” Larson said, adding that one executive who spoke during public hearings planned to meet and talk with neighbors. “They're going back to the drawing board. They're willing to keep trying.”
The Sugar Creek Planning & Zoning Commission recommended last month denying rezoning for the quarry, and the Board of Aldermen had been scheduled to vote on rezoning next week. Rezoning wasn’t absolutely necessary for the special-use permit, which would have allowed the necessary blasting. but that permit still required a separate public hearing in front of Planning & Zoning and then another vote by aldermen.
By pulling back the applications now, Larson said, Central Plains can come back sooner. If the company had let the process play out and the aldermen voted no, it couldn't come back with another application for a year.
In a packed public hearing at Mike Onka Community Hall that began Aug. 26 and continued to Sept. 16, citizens voiced myriad concerns about the proposed quarry, including dust mitigation, noise pollution, blasting affecting water wells and hundreds of truck trips a day over narrow, winding roads, even if the roads were reinforced as planned.
In addition to Sugar Creek residents, some in Independence wondered if the quarry could affect the aquifer across M-291, from which Independence draws its water. Sugar Creek and other cities in Eastern Jackson County are wholesale customers of Independence water.
Central Plains has mined near the aquifer for years without negative effect, Independence Water Director Dan Montgomery said previously.
Larson said the material Central Plains and parent companies sought to mine from the quarry is different than what they would further below if they did underground mining.