Borrow pit request withdrawn

Published 11:11 pm Thursday, April 16, 2009

A conditional use permit request for a controversial borrow pit in the Holland area of the city was withdrawn without comment at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

About 40 people from the standing-room-only crowd in council chambers exited the building after learning that the public hearing would not be held.

The property’s owners had been seeking permission to operate a borrow pit on Quince Road, east of the downtown Holland area. Whitney Saunders, representing Holland and Farmer Properties, LLC, had asked that the request be withdrawn.

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The borrow pit issue began with a Planning Commission meeting more than a year ago, when the commission voted 7-5 to recommend approval of the conditional use permit request. The property is located at 7800 Quince Road. Holland and Farmer Properties, LLC hoped to create a 24.6-acre borrow pit on about 128 acres, which would be excavated for 5-10 years to a final depth of about 35 feet.

City staff members had been concerned about the ability of the pavement on Quince and Pioneer roads to sustain the heavy loads of dump trucks. A condition was added to the proposed conditional use permit for the owners to maintain and repair portions of Quince and Pioneer roads from damage caused by dump trucks and to post a $5,000 maintenance bond with the city before excavation began.

The applicant also would have been required to maintain a surety in the amount of $67,500 with the planning department to cover negative impacts to existing ground wells on nearby properties.

The permit request, however, was withdrawn during the council meeting Wednesday night before the public hearing was held. Saunders gave no explanation for his withdrawal, and neither he nor Holland and Farmer Properties could be reached Thursday.

City Council voted 7-1 to allow the withdrawal and cancel the public hearing. Mayor Linda T. Johnson voted in opposition, explaining that she thought the public hearing should have gone forward, because it already had been advertised.

Also approved by council were separate conditional use permits allowing the Angelical Christian Worship Center to construct a church at the corner of Wilroy Road and River Creek Drive and to allow an indoor shooting range at 1259 Carolina Road.