Rock quarry plan hits stone wall | Local news

After a long night of discussions, the county commission rejected a resolution to amend the current zoning resolution that would have allowed a rock quarry in the county.

Ahead of the start of the scheduled Coffee County Plenary Committee meeting in March, a public hearing was held regarding the issue of rezoning parts of Coffee County to allow for the establishment of a rock quarry in the area. .

The application to create a special Q1 quarry district has been brought by Terrell and Gail Waterson, who own land they are considering leasing to Hawkins Asphalt Paving, the company that wants to establish a quarry in the Beechgrove area.

Lawyer Evan Cope, representing the Watersons and Hawkins Asphalt Paving, said during the heat the purpose of the resolution was to change rezoning laws so Watersons can come see their elected officials and ask for permission to have a career of rock on their property.

“The Watterson family is made up of long-time citizens and residents of this county who simply come before this commission and their elected officials to ask them to take a common sense approach and allow them to come back and ask your permission to do so. operate a rock quarry on their property, ”Cope said.

After Cope’s speech, supporters of the resolution said Watersons was right as homeowners to come in and ask and it would create more revenue for the county.

Chris Stanford, representing the Save Coffee County TN group, then spoke and revealed the group’s concerns about the dangers of quarries to the environment and the health of the community. He asked the commission to vote for what their constituents want and to vote ‘no’.

“I encourage you to reach out to your constituents and the people who voted to put yourself in your shoes,” Stanford said.

When he finished, members of Save Coffee County TN spoke up and reiterated their concerns about the impact a rock quarry will have on the county.

When the resolution to amend the current zoning resolution for the county was opened for discussion, Commissioner Dennis Hunt proposed deleting a section of the resolution that stated that a site where mining activities and career paths will be no less than five miles from any other similar site.

The reason for this withdrawal was the wording that the Rogers Group quarry in Hillsboro could not function if it lost its lease under the five mile radium rule.

The committee voted against the amendment in a decision 8-13.

Planning committee member Steve Cunning-ham then revealed to the county committee that the planning committee did not pass the resolution and sent a negative recommendation due to the inconsistency of the resolution and the current zoning resolution that had been tested.

“For 20 years it held up and there was no lawsuit against the Planning Commission,” Steve said. “Our zoning resolution is good. “

Commissioner Jeff Keele asked if the planning commission had received any geological surveys to show if there was any mineable material in the urban growth area. No study was known was the answer.

Keele expressed concern that if the zoning resolution were changed it could pose a problem with the removal of property rights from residents who live in and outside the urban growth area.

Cunningham told Keele and the commission he was talking about ‘point zoning’ and said it was not supposed to be allowed.

Keele said he believed the commission’s primary goal was to take care of the county’s residents and that no one would benefit from the resolution.

Other commissioners have expressed similar views. Commissioner Lynn Sebourn said the resolution before them was not prepared by county staff or the planning commission, and the language of the resolution would cause conflict.

“So on this basis I cannot vote for approval and I encourage my fellow Commissioners not to approve as well,” Sebourn said.

Commissioner Scarlett Taylor said the majority of residents expressed they did not want the resolution passed, noting the negative impact a rock quarry would cause on natural resources like water, which would push the people to leave the county.

“The vast majority of citizens have said no, they don’t want one-off zoning for an industry so hard on our county’s natural resources that we won’t be able to pass our property on to our children or our children won’t necessarily want to come back to live. because we’ve already destroyed a reasonable amount of our resources, ”Taylor said.

Several commissioners echoed Taylor’s sentiment regarding the majority of county residents’ concerns about the resolution. Commissioner David Orrick said the resolution is not in line with the current zoning resolution and that it would be a disservice to residents of the county.

“I’m 100% against the wording and it will cause a lot of problems in the county for a lot of citizens,” Orrick said.

Bryan said he would represent the 95% of residents who contacted the committee and vote “no” on the resolution as it would be presumptuous and arrogant to tell citizens that he knows better than them what is best for them. and their families.

Ahead of the final vote, Hunt said if the resolution passed, he promised he wouldn’t give up and vote to rezone a property until the changes he felt. necessary for resolution are made.

The final vote on the resolution to amend the county zoning resolution was 15-6, which was met with a round of applause from the majority present.

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