Cass County neighbors organize protest effort to oppose Greenwood quarry expansion


Greenwood quarry

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GREENWOOD, Mo. -- A controversial plan to expand a Greenwood quarry has neighbors fired up.

Martin Marietta already annexed land from a private property owner and now wants a 30-year permit, which could bring drilling and blasting to Cass County backyards.

Barb Byrne enjoys the view of wide open prairie beside her home outside Pleasant Hill.

"We wanted to be next to not a lot of neighbors," Byrne said.

When she moved in 13 years ago, she had no worries about the Greenwood quarry, which sits 3.5 miles away near the Cass-Jackson County line.

"A lot of neighbors have said that when they moved, they were told the life of the quarry was finite and at end of a certain period of time they'd be done and they'd be gone," Byrne said.

But that's all changing now.

The quarry's owner, North Carolina-based Martin Marietta, got the neighboring farm owner to lease their property, and it's seeking a special use permit to dig and blast the land for up to 30 years.

"Not only is the structural integrity of our home threatened but our ability to enjoy our properties is threatened," Byrne said.

She and her husband have organized neighbors, banding together to create an LLC to oppose the quarry's proposed expansion. Together, they've gotten yard signs, mailed thousands of flyers and sent a letter laying out concerns to city leaders.

"We really do believe the city of Greenwood has been bamboozled into this whole deal and made to think they're getting a really good deal when they're not," Byrne said.

Martin Marietta's deal would give Greenwood $850,000 up front, then another $5,000 a year, plus 6 cents per ton of material hauled out. For a cash strapped small town, that can sound pretty appealing.

"They're going to end up holding the bag for another 30 years. It's like being held hostage for something that could go away and will not," Byrne said.

Repaving just 1 mile of the beaten down quarry road would likely cost more than the upfront payment, and neighbors worry the fees paid later wouldn't cover its upkeep.

And the debate over the expansion comes just a couple years after the  city and property owners won lawsuits against Martin Marietta for damaging roads and being a public nuisance.

FOX4 reached out to Martin Marietta for comment about its proposed expansion, but we haven't heard back.

The city's planning commission is set to vote on the proposal at a public meeting at Greenwood Elementary on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 6:30 p.m. If the plan is approved, neighbors said they plan to sue.



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