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New Hanover Supervisors Reject Gibraltar Rock Plan
Written by Candace Perry, Correspondent

            The New Hanover Board of Supervisors unanimously voted down the final land development plan for the Gibraltar Rock Quarry at its meeting on Monday, February 22.

            Attorney Stephen Harris, representing the quarry, attempted to stall the proceedings by requesting a continuance at the top of the meeting, stating that he had never received a promised letter from township solicitor Andrew Bellwoar following the township planning commission meeting earlier this month. The letter was supposed to cover the planning commission's objections to the plan.

            "I'm entitled to that letter," Harris said.  He stated that without the letter, and Bellwoar's interpretation of what the planning commission determined, it was impossible for him to do what he needed to do.

            Bellwoar said that the letter was sent and that there was nothing in it about the planning commission's decision. He instructed the board that there was no reason to act on the continuance request.

            Township manager Jamie Gwynn then presented the multiple reasons why plan approval should be denied.  He focused particularly on a parcel of land in the proposed Gibraltar Rock tract that was not on the preliminary plan that was approved in 2015.

            Gwynn stated, "We do not know how many acres we are approving tonight," and that the board had to understand what acres abided by the preliminary plan.

            Additionally, one of the conditions of the 2015 approval was that Gibraltar Rock would get all the necessary outside approvals, but the permissions were overturned by the Environmental Hearing Board.

            Gwynn also said that the company did not have preliminary approval for a subdivision they were requesting in the final plan. Attorney Harris stated that a former township manager had requested that the subdivision be rolled in with the overall plan.

            Harris refuted all of Gwynn's statements. One of the major ongoing issues of developing the quarry is the presence of a toxic waste site at the location of the former Good Oil Company. Harris said that his client is actively working on remediation issues, but solicitor Bellwoar said that there is no immediate plan for remediation by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) but only a plan to collect data and that the department is studying it, at best.

            Supervisor Ross Snook said there was nothing new about the site study with the DEP.

            The application plan approval was put to a vote by the supervisors. The motion to deny was based upon the review letter, the failure to fulfill conditions of the preliminary plan approval, and the other reasons laid out by Gwynn and Bellwoar in the meeting. A roll call vote was taken with the supervisors in agreement for denial.

            The subdivision plan was also voted on with a recommendation to deny because the final plan did not meet the ordinance. The supervisors voted unanimously for denial.

            According to Gwynn, the applicant can appeal the decision or choose to submit a new application.







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