Rogers Group Inc. wants to expand its mining and quarry operations in Oak Ridge, hoping to acquire 56 acres at the University of Tennessee Arboretum on Union Valley Road in exchange for 83 acres in Sweetwater, plus $400,000.
The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture-Forest Resources Research and Education Center has already agreed to the exchange, said Mark Stephens, Rogers Group division vice president.
The company is seeking a special exception to allow the mining and quarrying operations, and the proposal will be considered by the Oak Ridge Board of Zoning Appeals during a 5:30 p.m. meeting today in the Municipal Building Courtroom.
“The property transfer and special exception permit are crucial to the long-term viability of the RGI Oak Ridge Operations and strengthens the resources of the UT Arboretum in Oak Ridge,” Stephens wrote in a letter to BZA members. “Over the next several years, RGI will require the additional reserves to sustain its existing operation.”
He said the expansion is not required for an immediate increase in production volume but is necessary for “the long-term strategic value of RGI’s existing operations.”
No more city services would be required for the expansion, and it would not increase traffic on Union Valley Road, Stephens said. In addition, no structures would be built, he said.
The property at UT’s 2,260-acre Forest Resources Research and Education Center in Oak Ridge would be developed and mined in a way that would allow surface water to drain to an existing pit. The proposed expansion would stay surrounded by the UT Arboretum on three sides, and it would not intrude on surrounding neighborhoods, Stephens said.
The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture-Forest Resources Research and Education Center would have the right to sell timber harvested from the property.