Hanson Aggregates, City Settle 20-Year Dispute

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The ongoing lawsuit between the City of Raleigh and the operator of a quarry has finally ended.

Hanson Aggregates, which owns and operates the quarry at 5001 Duraleigh Road in northwest Raleigh, has finally settled with the city after nearly 20 years of dispute.

City Attorney Thomas McCormick told City Councilors during Tuesday’s regular meeting that the settlement will allow the city to connect the Crabtree Creek greenway with Umstead Park.

Below are some highlights of the results from the settlement that were included in a statement released by the city.

• Hanson will not be allowed to develop its property south of Crabtree Creek for mining purposes at any time in the future, but may continue to operate its sediment basins. Hanson may not timber its property to the south of Crabtree Creek even though it is allowable under existing State laws. Hanson will maintain a 100-foot buffer along the disputed property.

• Quarry operations at the site will cease after 40 years maximum. Blasting will stop after 30 million tons of aggregate has been removed or in 38 years, whichever occurs first.

• Hanson must construct a landscaped earthen berm on the north side of the quarry to buffer the site from nearby properties. Construction of the berm must start within six months after mining begins north of the current boundary and conclude by eight years or before Hanson’s operations are 750 feet from the property border, whichever occurs first. The berm will further minimize the impact of blasting noise and quarry operations on surrounding property.

• The quarry will operate under a dust control plan to minimize dust from Hanson’s operations.

• Hanson will take additional steps to address noise from the quarry. These include requiring the company to use blasting techniques that minimize impacts on nearby properties and limiting blasting to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, except in the case of an emergency. Also, there will be stringent enforcement provisions for blasting violations, and Hanson will allow the city to review its blasting records. Hanson will self-report to the city any blasting that exceeds the agreed upon level. The settlement agreement also requires Hanson to post blasting records online so that the public can review them. Hanson will comply with new ground vibration controls and move its primary crusher into its excavation pit at least 50 feet from the top of the pit. Furthermore, Hanson will only use low-frequency backup alarms on all its equipment.

• The quarry entrance will be moved to a “safer northern location to improve traffic safety on Duraleigh Road.”

• Hanson will be required to engage in community outreach with nearby property owners. This includes establishing a neighborhood advisory group and implementing new procedures for investigating blasting damage complaints.

• The city will immediately obtain a 0.96-acre conservation easement protecting a glacial remnant of Catawba Rhododendron in an area along the southern bank of Crabtree Creek.

• The city will immediately obtain 7.46 acres for a nature park or nature preserve that will be near the confluence of Crabtree and Richland creeks.

• After quarry operations end and reclamation is complete, the city will have an option to acquire for $10 the site’s northern property that had been used for mining.

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