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Mining company looking to preserve historic house

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By J.R. Williams - jrwilliams@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- A historic home in Clear Brook will be preserved when limestone veins around it are eventually mined, representatives from Carmeuse Lime & Stone told the county's Historic Resources Advisory Board on Wednesday night.

The occupied, stone 1809 Zinn House, also known as the Martin farmhouse, is on rural land that the company intends to have rezoned to expand mining operations at their Clear Brook quarry east of U.S. 11.

Ninety-two acres would be reclassified for extractive mining under a proposal by the company, which says it doesn't intend to disturb the land for another 10-20 years.

The historic significance of the property was discussed at the advisory board's meeting Wednesday. The panel's comments will join those from other agencies as part of a rezoning package to the county government.

In a proposed proffer statement provided to the county, Carmeuse says it "has no intention of removing or affecting the Martin farmhouse, and, in the long term, will put the farmhouse into adaptive reuse," perhaps as an office or other support building.

But panel members requested stronger wording to make explicit that the house would be preserved regardless of the company's "intent."

Thomas M. Lawson, an attorney representing the company, said new language would be considered.

The panel also requested that the company complete a nomination form for the home's listing on the National Register of Historic Places and further study preserving nearby outbuildings, including a stone springhouse.

An archaeological survey performed in November by ECS Mid-Atlantic did not find the springhouse to be a historic structure.

As part of the plans, a line of trees, a fence and a 10-feet-high berm is planned along U.S. 11 for security and to protect the local viewshed. But the panel questioned installing a berm in front of the historic farmhouse, located at the southern end of the proposed rezoned property, as the plans now show.

The berm line also is drawn behind a row of existing homes east of U.S. 11.

Company officials said they would consider moving the berm behind the home and alternating its height for a more natural look.

The company's plans also call for the eventual relocation of softball fields at Clearbrook Park. Carmeuse has agreed to pay to relocate the fields, which are on land the company owns. A location has yet to be established with the Parks and Recreation Department.

"The mine plan probably doesn't call for us to go over there for at a minimum seven years," said Jim Bottom, area operations manager for Carmeuse. "It's more likely to be 10 to 15 by the time we do any work in this area that we're talking about."

A public meeting with nearby residents on the company's plans was held in December.

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