FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A quarry west of Fayetteville can move forward in expanding without any pushback from Washington County, officials say.
The Hunt-Rogers Quarry is north of Farmington on Hamestring Road, and Washington County Attorney Brian Lester said some neighbors around the mine have said they don’t want the expansion. Those who voiced concern about the expansion include a former Washington County Planning Board member who lives near the quarry, according to Lester.
Lester said the county will let the Rogers Group, Inc. (RGI) continue expanding on its existing property without needing a large scale development or conditional use permit. He also said the quarry’s permit from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality doesn’t expire until next year. ADEQ confirmed the permit is good until May 2018.
In a letter sent to Washington County Planning Director Jim Kimbrough, RGI said it can expand its mining operation on its original parcels of land without the permit because of a 2006 agreement with previous Washington County Attorney George Butler.
“RGI believes it may expand its mining operation on its original parcels without the necessity of a large scale development (LSD) or conditional use permit (CUP),” the letter states.
The letter states RGI reached an agreement with Butler on September 8, 2006, nearly three months before the county passed its zoning ordinance requiring large scale development permits for similar operations. As a result, RGI was “grandfathered in,” the letter to Kimbrough states.
Lester said the quarry is in a “gray area,” and he has no clear cut definition on what was agreed upon with Butler in 2006. The county attorney said no paperwork on the deal with RGI was left behind when Butler left the office.
Fayetteville City Attorney Kit Williams said Fayetteville has tried to regulate the mine before and was told by a federal judge the city lacked the authority to do so.
Lester said if RGI attempts to expand to a different property, then the county will require it to seek a large scale development permit. Until then, though, RGI can expand on its current parcel.
KNWA/KFTA reached out to RGI in regards to its expansion plans, but the company didn’t respond.
It its letter to Kimbrough, the company said it had spoken with those that live near the quarry about expansion, and they “expressed support.”