Because of an editing error, an article in the Metro section Wednesday incorrectly stated that a recommendation by the Charter Review Commission to the Montgomery County Council about the size of the council was identical to a referendum on the November 1984 ballot. The new proposal recommended that five council members be elected from separate districts and four at-large. The 1984 referendum was a proposal to elect five council members by district and two at-large. All council members now run countywide.
The Montgomery County Council yesterday unanimously defeated a proposal for a stone quarry next to the tiny community of Boyds, capping an eight-year battle between residents of the rural town northwest of Gaithersburg and a local mining company.
A crowd of about 150 Boyds residents nearly filled the council hearing room, loudly cheering and applauding as each council member voted to deny a request from Rockville Crushed Stone Inc. to reclassify a 530-acre tract rich in diabase stone, used in making cement and asphalt, so that it could be mined. A zoning commission hearing examiner had recommended that the council reject the firm's request to make the area a "mineral resource recovery zone."
In another action yesterday, a special 11-member commission recommended that the size of the council be increased from seven members to nine because of the growing county population.
The Charter Review Commission, appointed by the council in 1983, recommended that five of the council members be elected from separate districts and four be elected at large. Now, all council members run countywide.
An identical proposal was included as a referendum on the November 1984 ballot, but was defeated after heavy lobbying by the county Democratic Party and the League of Women Voters. County Council member David Scull said last night that the council has "complete discretion" on whether the proposal is placed on this year's ballot but added that "normally the council does go along with the commission."
Scull, who has previously opposed a nine-member council, said he would support the proposal this time. The council is scheduled to take up the issue in late July.
The council's vote on the quarry settles a controversy that has inflamed the area since 1978, when Rockville Crushed Stone Inc. sought to open a mining operation on the land it owns west of Boyds, an upcounty town of about 700. Officials of Rockville Crushed Stone argued that the stone in Boyds is needed for highway construction in Montgomery County and throughout Maryland. The firm said it could mitigate most of the negative effects of a quarry operation by hauling the mined rock by railroad.
The proposal failed in large part because of the intense lobbying efforts of the Boyds community, which feared increased traffic and pollution from the operation, said council President William E. Hanna Jr., who originally supported the quarry. "You never let us forget," Hanna told the crowd of Boyds townspeople yesterday.
The hearing examiner's report to the council said that Rockville Crushed Stone did not show that the regional economic benefits of the rock-mining operation would outweigh the problems of increased truck traffic, noise and air pollution.
Also, the mining company could not show that the quarry would reduce the price in the region for diabase -- a stone considered superior to other types of road surfacing because it is skid-resistant, the report said.
"We're absolutely elated," said Susan de Messieres, vice president of the Boyds Civic Association. "We thought we might have to move because the massive industrial complex would change the peaceful and quiet life style of Boyds."
Rockville Crushed Stone officials said yesterday that their fight is not over. "We will be back," said Charles G. Dalrymple, an attorney for the firm. The company may appeal to the county Circuit Court or submit a new zoning application to remedy the defects in their proposal that were highlighted yesterday, according to Dalrymple.
"But we won't do it in an election year," said Dalyrmple. "You better believe I thought some of the [council] votes were political."
County council member Esther P. Gelman, wearing her congressional campaign button yesterday, called the vote "an outstanding example of the process working."
"It's too bad Boyds is not in the 8th Congressional District," added Gelman, who is running for that congressional seat, as she walked away.
In a separate action, the council approved a change in the Potomac Village Master Plan that paves the way for Giant Food to build a store in an area.