Md.’s Prince George’s Council Approves New Concrete Plant

Thu January 01, 2009 - Northeast Edition
CEG



CHEVERLY, Md. (AP) The developer of a concrete plant will be allowed to continue with plans to build a plant in a small community outside Cheverly.

The Prince George’s County Council’s vote involved the community of Cedar Heights in an unincorporated area. It gave a special zoning exception to American Resource Management Group to build the Marvaco Concrete Batch Plant.

The 8-0 vote came despite objections from residents, who say the plant will harm their quality of life. The residents angrily left the council chamber after the vote.

“We’ll see them in court,’’ said Charles Gallion, president of the Cedar Heights Civic Association. “We’re not going to take this sitting down.’’

Jane F. Barrett is director of the University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic, which represented the community. She argued the council underestimated the increase in noise and traffic, and the affected area.

“This was the District Council’s chance to protect that community, which is overstressed and is an African-American community, and they failed to do that,’’ Barrett said. Council members sit as the District Council when they hears zoning cases.

Thomas E. Haller is a lawyer for American Resource Management Group. He said the company was looking forward to working with the community. Haller said he wanted the council to decide his client’s application on its own merits, “not on the failings’’ of other industrial plants in the area.

“We understand their concerns,’’ Haller said. “I’m happy the council approved the application, but I know my client shoulders some of the burden to help clean up that area.’’

The District Council had postponed the case three times. In June, it recommended more thoroughly studying traffic and health, and investigating claims of environmental racism.

Council member Andrea Harrison said American Resource Management Group should obtain air monitoring equipment and the county should proceed with an air quality study.

Haller said American Resource Management Group hopes to start construction at the end of 2009 and open the plant in 2010.