Granite mining in America began long before the Revolutionary War. Granite mines and quarries provide Americans with everything from monuments for the dead to countertops for kitchens. Few communities welcome mining near residential neighborhoods, though. The mining industry says any problems are manageable and that granite mining brings good jobs with it. Nevertheless, living near a mine can affect real estate values.
Mining's effect on neighboring properties depends, in part, on who the neighbors are. Many counties restrict mining to areas zoned for heavy industrial use. That puts the mine among compatible land uses such as smelting, manufacturing or industrial chemicals. Communities often oppose proposals to rezone farmland or place mines near cities for fear of negative effects. Potential problems that could affect communities and property values include noise, granite dust from the mine and increased traffic on local roads, mostly heavy trucks.
When granite companies propose opening a quarry or a mine, environmental issues often top the list of local worries. Granite mining uses water for hydraulic drilling and to keep dust down. The water can wash mine waste into local waterways, affecting fishing and drinking water and putting heavy demands on the area water supply. Mining opponents say mine pollution from diesel trucks only make the problems worse. All these are problems that can hurt residential or farmland values.
Making the Case
General rules about property value may not be true in specific cases. That's why if a granite company wants to open near your town or farm, in most areas of the country it will have to prove it won't cause problems. Applications for a mine typically involve environmental studies, traffic-impact reports and plans for controlling the noise from the mine. Reports are public information, so you should be able to review it and find out what to expect.
If the granite mine requires rezoning the chosen site, it will have to go through public hearings. That gives you and anyone else concerned about the environment or property values a chance to make your case. The mining company will likewise try to prove any effect on property values or the environment is negligible. In some cases, even if the mine gets approved, the company makes concessions. Temecula, California, for example, got one mining company to withdraw its original proposal and replace it with something substantially smaller.
- University of Vermont: Vermont Mining -- Granite
- Monterey County Weekly: Granite Construction’s Plans for an Open Pit Mine East of Gonzales Draws Fire.
- Community and Environmental Defense Services: Mining: Preserving Neighborhoods & the Environment from Impacts
- Press-Enterprise: Liberty Quarry: Granite Resubmits Mine Application
A Durham, NC resident, Fraser has written about law, starting a business, balancing your budget and fighting evictions, among other legal and financial topics.