The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority (RDUAA) signed what they call a “mineral lease” to Wake Stone Corporation, a private rock quarry company, on March 1, 2019 with 48 hour public notice.
The proposed contract to sell mineral property would allow Wake Stone to create a new rock quarry pit within a 105 acre tract adjacent to William B. Umstead State Park and Old Reedy Creek Road. The tract is referred to as the “Odd Fellows Tract.”
Four local governments own the Odd Fellows Tract. It is publicly-owned. The Odd Fellows Tract is deeded to the Cities of Raleigh and Durham and the Counties of Wake and Durham. The NC legislation that establishes the RDUAA identifies the “owning municipalities” of the RDU Airport to be the Cities of Raleigh and Durham and the Counties of Wake and Durham.
The StopRDUQuarry Explainer Video shows the location and gives an overview. This would create a new 400 plus foot deep quarry pit on the west side of Crabtree Creek.
It is a sale, not a lease. The RDU “mineral lease” is a lease in name only. It is a contract with the sole purpose of allowing Wake Stone Corporation, a private business, to remove and sell public property (soil, rock) on the open market. The mineral rights would be conveyed from the public owners of the land to a private rock quarry company to sell. Permanent removal of the forest, top soil, and rock would occur - truck load by truck load. It is estimated the quarry operations would generate 500 truckloads a day!
It is not comparable to a land lease for a hotel or gas station as neither sell government property as a business model. In a normal land lease, the property is returned to the Landlord at the end of the term and can be used for another purpose. In this case, the only thing which will be returned is a liability, a large pit with net negative value. It will not be able to be reused. This pit will be very dangerous with steep slopes, and will require a fence to keep everyone OUT.
As stated by several community leaders: If you lease a car, you have to return it with its engine, steering wheel, seats, and wheels. You wouldn’t be allowed to take it to a chop shop, sell off the parts and return the useless carcass at the end of the term. That would be ludicrous!
NC Law requires the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority (RDUAA) to obtain permission from municipal owners to sell real property. The owning governments per NC Statute are the Cities of Durham and Raleigh and Counties of Durham and Wake.
A for-profit, commercial quarry is NOT an aeronautical purpose nor is it of incidental aeronautical purpose.
Precedent for the requirement to obtain the owning municipalities vote can be found in the RDUAA and City of Raleigh minutes as well as recorded timber deeds which clearly document the required City and County approval for the sale of RDU timber. If it applies to a renewable resource like timber why not the commercial sale of non-renewable rock and soil?
The Umstead Coalition, Triangle Off-road Cyclists (TORC), Randy and Tamara Dunn (adjacent landowners), and Bill Doucette (Wake County and City of Raleigh resident) have filed a lawsuit against the RDUAA and Wake Stone Corporation. Our main requests are: