Quarry expansion plan creates concerns for Clark County neighbors

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CLARK COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT)-- A rock quarry expansion has been a goal for the Allen Company Quarry in Madison County since 2013. However, their plan for expansion over the Kentucky River and into Clark County is being met with criticism by dozens who live nearby.

In 2013, the Allen Company hoped to rezone their land along Highway 627 in Clark County from agriculture to heavy industry with the goal of creating a pit mine to accompany their already active mines less than a mile away. That plan was denied by the Clark County Planning and Zoning Commission.

The mine then applied to become an underground mine on the former farm land and was again denied by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

That decision was overridden by the Clark County Fiscal Court who approved the application.

Since then, members of the Southwest Clark Neighborhood Association have been fighting the decision – a group of neighbors who say they live in the impact zone of the proposal.

The association has appealed the decision on multiple levels of local and state government including Clark Co. Circuit Court, Kentucky Court of Appeals, and a motion for a discretionary review – all attempts were denied.

"We believe the operation will be detrimental to our health, to our safety, and to our property which has already been devalued,” said association president Deborah Garrison.

On Monday, members of the association met to discuss their next moves as the Allen Company prepares to apply for a mining permit within the Department of Mining and Reclamation on Wednesday in Frankfort.

The company was denied a permit in 2018 after not supplying proper documentation from the Corps of Engineers after the association alerted the department to the holes they saw within the proposal.

The association says the 165-acre expansion on nearby land is a dangerous step for the company to take. They say with heavy trucks already controlling the roadways, constant dust in the air and never-ending noise, an expansion would not be appropriate and put those who live in the area into dangerous circumstances.

The association says the most disturbing proposal is shown in a mock-up design of plans illustrating a conveyor system suspended above the Kentucky River and a nearby roadway meant to transport rocks from the potential new mine.

“You will be riding canoes and kayaks while rocks are moving overhead,” said Garrison.

WKYT’s Nick Oliver reached out to the Allen Company for comment and was told his contact information would be passed along to an administrator close to the ongoing proposal. WKYT never received a response from the mine on why they think the plan would benefit the company or the citizens in the area.

The association says they wish the company would communicate their desires with them and speak to the residents living nearby about their concerns – an action they say has not taken place.

They also say their concern sits with active tourism the area has with hundreds using the busy stretch of Highway 627 as a summer escape to Fort Boonesboro and other nearby attractions.

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