Sunday, November 8, 2009

CR-082-2009 & Brandywine Crossing II

Mining In Subregion V, South Prince George's County

Special Exception Applications for Mining:

In addition to the five (5) SE Applications filed with MNCPPC for sand and gravel mines
in residential/rural tier areas for a total of 1,590+/- acres, to operate consecutively.

Active Mining “Special Exceptions” Applications are as follows
Aggregate Industries- McKendree Rd., NE of Garner Rd.
Aggregate Industries- 6705 Accokeek Road, Brandywine, Maryland 20613
Chaney Enterprises- Previously Robin Dale Golf Club
Gudelsky Materials- On Brandywine Rd. It has road frontage on Evergreen Way
Bardon Group, Inc.- On SW side of Brandywine Road, at the inter/W Gibbons Church Road.

Brandywine and the portion of the PPA south of Accokeek Road contains some old, active, and future sand and
gravel mines. mining sites can sometimes be reclaimed for development, but the land will be rendered entirely barren, even down to a microbial level. It's natural attributes cannot be reclaimed. Overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that breaks in ecosystems, whether woodlands, wetlands, or watersheds, degrade those systems, and threaten the viability of the species therein. Further, direct and indirect air and water pollution resulting from mining activities make them a poor choice in residential and environmentally sensitive areas such as these.

Priority Preservation Area

Gain state certification of the recommended PPA within Subregion 5.
  • Implement the PPA through code revisions, amendments, and programmatic changes as outlined.
  • Develop an installment purchase agreement option.
  • Require mitigation for activities that use soil productivity classes I, II, III agricultural or forest soils in the Rural Tier in Subregion 5. What kind of mitigation? How much?
  • Stimulate and facilitate landowner interest in selling easements under the county’s
  • Woodland Conservation and Tree Preservation Ordinance. This is a great idea. Increase the open space easement requirement in conservation subdivisions.
  • in the PPA: in the O-S Zone from sixty percent to seventy percent and in the R-A Zone from fifty percent to sixty percent.
  • Establish an agricultural zone for the express purpose of encouraging agriculture as an intended, long term land use. We are in strong support of this concept, but would like more information included in this document. What will the guidelines for the agricultural zone be? Will it be mandatory or voluntary?
Mineral Resource Areas
Evaluate the utilization of a mineral overlay zoning district that corresponds to the
unexploited sand and gravel deposits, avoiding already developed lands, to protect mineral resources. The boundaries of the district could be limited to the PPA. Within the overlay district require the following: Promoting sand and gravel mining is in direct opposition to the principles behind land and ecosystem preservation. Sand and Gravel mining has the potential to cause serious human health hazards, air and water pollution, and watershed depredation, and the failure of reclamation efforts to achieve acceptable levels of vegetation structure. (see studies by the U.S. House of Representatives; Washington State Department of Ecology; Fisheries Research, Missouri Department of Conservation, and The Biodiversity Conservation Unit of the Department of Infrastructure, Planning, and Environment.)

In order to control the copious airborne particulates (dust) produced by sand and gravel mining that put humans at such a direct high risk for developing serious health problems, millions of gallons of water must be used every day. This is almost guaranteed to cause a serious runoff problem, endangering nearby watersheds and waterways, but also poses a serious and direct risk to residential water supplies.

In the predominantly Rural Tier area in which sand and gravel mining would occur, residents rely on private wells for water. Many of these are in danger of “drying up.” In other words, the water table in the aquifers from which the wells draw water is dropping so quickly and significantly that water will no longer be available for use if serious measures are not put in place to curb large-scale usage. This plan does not identify alternative potential water sources for use in mining activities.

Finally, the increase in dump truck traffic would cause a great increase in noise, wear and tear, and dust on rural roads which are not designed to handle the weight or level of such traffic. The effects of these impacts on residents will have a negative impact on their quality of life.

  • Surveys of mineral resources prior to development for other uses. Recommendations to promote mining are wholely inappropriate if appropriate surveys have not even been completed; planners are suggesting uses which might cause incredible depredation without bothering to find out where this might occur.
  • Offering access to mineral resources, if present, prior to development.
  • Penalizing developers for deciding not to engage in mining, at the great detriment of people and ecosystems, is unfair to both developers and the general public.
  • Increased setback requirements from outside property lines of development parcels to minimize potential effects of noise and dust from future mining on adjoining unexploited parcels.
  • Post mining reclamation requirements that match preservation, community recreation, and environmental needs. Within the PPA these should encourage reclamation for agriculture or woodland. Please see attached studies referenced above.