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Our View: Opelika wins big with halt of quarry development
Our View

Our View: Opelika wins big with halt of quarry development

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The company wanting to develop a granite quarry just outside the northern city limits of Opelika has pulled the plug on its plans, putting a stop to a proposal that prompted a far-reaching outcry of opposition.

That opposition provided a strong example of local unity and what it can do when serving a shared community goal; in this case, stopping a project that posed a threat on multiple fronts.

CreekWood Resources withdrew its permit application to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for the quarry, located near Storybook Farm and only a short distance from the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and its pristine courses.

Both notable venues, which have gained regional and national exposure for their successes, faced threats from having a nearby granite quarry that would include blasting, possible impact on the local water supply and air quality, and at least 60 big trucks a day hauling to and from the quarry.

Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller, as well as other government leaders from Opelika, Auburn and Lee County, all led a charge that included many from all walks of life in the fight to halt the project. Fuller was quick to thank all of those involved.

“I am deeply grateful for the overwhelming support from citizens in Opelika, Auburn, Smiths Station and Lee County,” Fuller said. “Without the support of all involved, we may not have had this outcome.”

There were concerns on everything from air and water pollution to noise pollution and property values.

“The first and most important impact would be on Saugahatchee Lake,” said Opelika city attorney Guy Gunter at a public meeting. “As everyone in this room knows, Saugahatchee Lake is the primary source of drinking water for the city of Opelika. But you don’t stop there; it is also the backup water system for every community in Lee County.”

Pushback from Auburn, Smiths Station, Opelika and Lee County, however, led to ADEM requiring a public hearing set for the quarry. CreekWood Resources withdrew its permits application before the hearing.

Opelika officials continue to pursue options to prevent any future similar plan for the site, such as annexing the land and bringing it under control of city ordinances and planning guidelines.

Congratulations, Opelika. Count this one as a big win.

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