No blasting will happen at a proposed rock quarry at Pryor Road and Interstate 470 in Lee’s Summit, its owner promises.
Flip Short says that instead of explosives, the excavators will employ only a mechanical system to do the initial splitting of the rock. Then another machine can break the rock into smaller pieces and crush it.
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Short and his team met earlier this month with project opponents and state officials to discuss a permit for the project.
Critics re-emphasized their worries about dust, noise, vibrations, truck traffic and fear of an unsightly quarry.
“You can sugar-coat it all you want. It will be a huge, ugly hole in the ground,” said Andy Bost, a homeowner in the Bent Tree Bluffs subdivision.
Short and his team contend that because of topography, residents or highway travelers won’t be able to see the quarry from the interstate. The mine will operate on only a few acres at a time, in an already industrial area, they said.
The project aims to reclaim about 70 acres that are undercut by a limestone mine, and too unstable to support building new structures above it.
Eventually Short hopes to redevelop that land, a promise opponents think is iffy. Short said he realizes it will be impossible to persuade all of his critics of the merits of the project.
“It’s of no value to us to dig a gravel pit and leave,” Short said. “It would be a horrible investment for us to do that.”
About 60 people were at the meeting, which lasted several hours.
Opponents, like Jim Tosser, asked that Short employ someone with experience in using the mechanical devices and taking down defunct mines.
He also suggested Short should start over on the permitting process, including a more definite plan and a stipulation against blasting, rather than continue the evolution of the plans.
Short said amending the current application to forbid blasting is a good idea, to give assurance to residents, if for some reason he is no longer owner.