Vulcan Materials Co.’s rock quarry in Flowery Branch will expand by 20.74 acres, but mining operations won’t grow an inch.
Instead, the company is planning to use the extra land bordering Hog Mountain and Blackjack roads as a protective, landscaped buffer between the quarry and surrounding properties.
The company’s plans move forward thanks to annexation and rezoning actions taken by Flowery Branch City Council Thursday night.
Vulcan plans to go a step further and landscape the area and develop walking trails.
“We’re here to create a better buffer,” said Dick B. Hall, land manager for Vulcan’s Southeast Division to the council. “It’s not something our competitors … or even we typically do in some places.”
The site will feature a decorative fence and a 10-foot compacted stone walkway “where families can walk, bike and hang out with one another in the evening,” Hall said.
Vulcan plans to add shrubs and bushes, indigenous grasses and Leyland cypress trees.
“If somebody didn’t know this quarry was here … they’d look around and say this is nice,” Hall said. “They may even think about buying some property around here.”
The quarry’s main entrance is at 4195 Friendship Road.
Hall said he talked about Vulcan’s plans to a property owner two weeks before he died.
“I’m here tonight to ask you to help me do what I told (the property owner) I would do,” he said.
Vulcan’s plans also drew praise from residents, including Friendship Road area resident Teresa Owens.
“Vulcan has done what they have said they would do,” she said. “Mostly, they’ve been a good neighbor.”
One resident had a concern about the impact of Vulcan’s plans on property values.
Hall said Vulcan hadn’t studied the issue, “but let’s be clear: What we’re asking for is not to increase truck traffic, not to further burden transportation. … It would be beyond my level of comprehension to think that property values would be adversely affected.”
Vulcan’s plans may also factor into a proposed South Hall bicycle/pedestrian pathway, City Manager Bill Andrew said.
“The quarry has been a real good partner with us in working on that idea,” he said.