A company that makes money quarrying limestone wants to expand its 130-year-old digging expedition to 16 acres of currently undeveloped land on the northwestern edge of York City.
But first, York Building Products needs city officials' blessing - several layers of blessings, in fact.
The company owns a 216-acre quarry that borders Route 30 to the west and Greenmount Cemetery to the south in West Manchester Township. Another 42 acres of mined land sits within city limits, bordered most closely by residential streets and a school, according to development consultant Joe Musso.
About five years ago, Musso said, York Building Products purchased another 16 acres from the cemetery's owners.
Eventually, the company wants to mine that land, Musso said.
To do so legally would require at least two significant approvals from city officials. First, there's a zoning issue. The 16 acres, sandwiched between the quarry to the north and cemetery to the south, are zoned residential.
But, as Musso pointed out to the York City Council on Wednesday, there are no access roads or public utilities there.
"My clients would like to see that zoning changed," he said.
The council agreed to take up the issue at its Feb. 5 meeting, when its members will consider whether to forward the company's request to the city and county planning commissions. The council would then consider the commissions' recommendations at a later date.
If the council changes the zoning to an "employment center district," the company would still need the council's "conditional use" approval to use the land for a quarry, Musso said. "Just re-zoning it would not, in fact, allow them to quarry that area," he said.
But, it would open to the door to that possibility, Councilman Henry Nixon pointed out.
"I would be interested to see how the neighborhood feels," Nixon said.
Musso said York Building Products intends to proceed with transparency. Quarries are regulated by the state Department of Environmental Protection, and state law prohibits quarry operators from mining within 100 feet of their property line, Musso said.
Because of that rule, when it comes to nearby Edgar Fahs Smith Middle School, the quarry is "already as close as it's going to get," Musso said.
- Erin James may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.