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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Feb. 27, 2024

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Cardai Hill Rock Quarry seeks zoning overlay for 46 acres

Clark County planners expected to vote on request Dec. 15

By , Columbian staff writer

Cardai Hill Rock Quarry is back before the Clark County Planning Commission with a request to add a surface mining overlay to roughly 46 acres of land within a 76-acre parcel currently zoned for rural residential and forest resource use.

The commission is expected to vote on the request during its next meeting, on Dec. 15.

When Cardai Hill approached the commission in 1997 with the goal of expanding its operations just south of Woodland, residents living near the quarry and members of the North Fork Lewis River neighborhood association turned out to voice their concerns about noise, traffic, pollution and road damage that often comes with quarry operations.

Much has changed in the intervening years. The quarry was sold in 2000 and is now a limited liability corporation, and the once-active neighborhood association is now defunct.

“The zoning is not proposed to be changed. This is a zoning overlay. … The underlying zoning would stay the same,” County Planner Bart Catching told the planning commission during a Dec. 1 work session.

Catching noted that there is already a surface mining overlay on property to the southeast of the area under review.

According to Catching, the county has been working to identify and protect mineral resource lands since 1994, when it first adopted a surface mining overlay map and related codes and policies. The map and codes were updated in 2014, building on a more complete map from the Washington Department of Natural Resources released in 2005.

Catching said the updated maps better identified bedrock and gravel resources in the county, whether they were hypothetical sites or working quarries. With demand for aggregate materials from developers and the county’s public works department on the rise for the past decade, quarries want to expand their operations.

Some members of the Clark County Council support such expansion.

“In the grand scheme of the health of Clark County, we need aggregate,” Councilor Gary Medvigy said during a March 1 meeting in response to a request from Granite Construction in the Chelatchie Bluff area.

While county planning staff recommended approving the overlay request, it came with at least one caveat. The report states that community development’s wetlands and habitat staff did not submit comments for the project but noted that county records show “extensive potential geological hazards along with several riparian habitat areas that should be considered for future development.”

Approval of the surface mining overlay would not authorize Cardai Hill Rock Quarry to immediately expand, but the company said in its application that it planned to seek that authorization if the overlay is approved.

The public hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15 in the sixth-floor hearing room of the Public Service Center at 1300 Franklin St., Vancouver. The request will next go before the Clark County Council in early 2023 for final approval or denial.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the surface mining overlay would apply to the entire 76-acre parcel.