In an 8 to 1 vote the Raleigh Planning Commission Tuesday approved a rezoning request that would allow Martin Marietta to expand its quarry near Westgate and Ebeneezer Church roads.
The rezoning allows Martin Marietta to use the majority of its 97 acres as a dumping ground for soil, rock and other overburden resulting from blasting. Only eight acres would be used to expand mining production.
Commissioner Waheed Haq cast the only dissenting vote.
While inconsistent with the 2030 Comprehensive Plan and the Future Land Use Map, most commissioners agreed allowing Martin Marietta to expand was in the best interests of the city.
“It takes a natural resource that we need and makes it more affordable for the city and our citizens,” said Commission Chair Marvin Butler.
The quarry provides the raw materials needed to make a number of different products, including the asphalt used to pave roads.
The expansion also includes realigning Westgate Road farther north and building a tunnel underneath it to accommodate the trucks that would be transporting and dumping the overburden.
Berms will be constructed out of the overburden and covered with topsoil, in which grass and trees will be planted. The berms will slope upward to a maximum height of 80 feet.
Residents in the nearby Wyngate subdivision fought the rezoning, citing increased pollution, noise and dust, and a possible decrease in their property values.
Ben Kuhn, the attorney representing the neighborhood, said the area would have more of an economic impact if it were developed according to its current zoning. The area could be developed into mixed-use retail and residential with pedestrian connections.
But Commissioner Steven Schuster said that as the property owner, Martin Marietta is not responsible for developing the area into the next North Hills.
“They are a property owner,” he said. “They can develop it or not develop as they choose.”
The rezoning will go to the City Council for a decision June 19. If the rezoning is approved, Martin Marietta will need additional state approvals before beginning the expansion.