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Quarry proposal is worst kind of sprawl

Life up Dead Indian Memorial Road has a certain aura about — it for most who live there. Most choose very specifically to live there, — looking for a certain type of life. They opt to drive the winding road — into town for things like groceries or taking kids to school events. They — trade convenience for tranquility.

Life up Dead Indian Memorial could radically change come — Monday. Plans to rezone a significant swath of land - about 5,000 acres — - so it can be turned into a rock quarry will be reviewed by Jackson County. — The residents of Dead Indian, as to be expected, are organized in their — opposition.

For good reason. If this quarry is approved, the life — they chose will be changed.

How much it will be changed is a point of debate. Issues — of noise pollution, truck traffic and water contamination have been raised, — not to mention the negative impact on property value.

How much is part of what will be hammered out at the hearing. —

But, regardless of how much, it is certain that this lifestyle — will change, raising a basic issue of fairness that overshadows all other — issues.

It is difficult to justify the dramatic shift of this — zoning change in any terms. An industrial-use rock quarry amid pastures — of horses, towering trees and babbling brooks is about as radical of a — change as one can imagine. Trying to envision it is like a picture of — a skyscraper in the Greensprings. It is almost surreal.

Strip it all down and this is basically sprawl - the exact — kind of thing the community has said it doesn't want. It's industry moving — outward into the natural areas that need to be protected. This project — is more out of place than a 5,000-acre housing development, which would — never pass through planning. But ask residents which they would prefer — given an ultimatum, a housing development would win by a large margin.

Simply, a rock quarry miles up Dead Indian Memorial Road — is like a Wal-Mart on the road to Mount Ashland.

The problem is there is nothing wrong with a rock quarry. — It's a viable and needed business. As the quarry's owner J.G. Dauenhauer — has said, the state needs more rocks. It's his business to provide them. — Like all businesses, however, he must work within the framework of zoning — laws and acceptable land-use planning.

But miles up Dead Indian Memorial Road just isn't it.