Quarry rezoning moves to the county commission

Friday, February 23, 2018

After a lot of discussion about blasting, it was the silence that made the most noise.

None of the members of the Marshall County Planning Commission made any motion on two controversial rezoning requests presented at their Tuesday evening meeting.

The Rogers Group had resubmitted a request to rezone two parcels at their Pottsville quarry location in order to access additional stone.

The Planning Commission voted in November to give unfavorable recommendations to the initial request to rezone 309 acres at the site.

The new request from Rogers cut the proposed land to be rezoned to 153 acres.

Neighbors of the Pottsville quarry, along with representatives from Rogers Group, filled the commission chamber to express their opposition or support for the plan.

Rogers made several presentations to the board that detailed their request and the steps that they were taking to lessen the impact of mining operations, especially the blasting, on local residents.

Derek Roberts, a vice president with Rogers, stated that, since the November meeting, the quarry had begun the design process with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to add a turn lane for trucks entering the quarry from Highway 99, as well as an acceleration lane for trucks leaving the quarry. Rogers would pay for the roadwork, once approved, lessening the impact of traffic from the site.

He also said that, in response to complaints about debris on the road, the quarry was purchasing their own road sweeper in order to keep the highway clean themselves.

Opponents of the rezoning cited the same concerns that they had in November.

Residents who live close to the Pottsville pit expressed their belief that vibrations from blasting at the quarry caused damage to their homes and their concerns over the noise, the dust, and the potential for damage to their water wells.

“The stress of this is overwhelming,” said one neighbor.

Another expressed frustration with the company’s response to the issues that neighbors have raised.

“It feels like lip service when you are just doing it now (that you need a rezoning),” the man said of Rogers’ responses.

Unlike the November meeting, the planning commission chose not to make a recommendation on the matter for the County Commission.

No one on the commission made a motion to consider either of the requests for a vote after discussion was ended.

An awkward silence hung in the room while the commissioners sat without moving for a vote.

Procedurally, the motions will still move forward.

The two motions now move to the County Commission for a vote at Monday’s 6 p.m. meeting.

A public hearing on the two requests will be held prior to the meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the commission chamber in the Courthouse Annex.

If approved by the Commission, the requests will still have to go before the county’s Board of Zoning Appeals, due to quarrys requiring a special exception even in areas zoned M-1.

The BZA has the ability to place reasonable standards in place on any operations.

Rogers Group requested a zoning change for 95 acres to the west of the current pit in 2015. At that time, the County Commission voted down the rezoning, 16-1, in the face of opposition from neighbors.