LETTER: More Time Needed To Comment On Quarry
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Mike Gannon, County Executive
Chairman
Joint Economic and Community Development Board
Cannon County Courthouse
Woodbury, TN

September 23, 2011

Dear Mr. Gannon,

I read the front page article on the proposed Stones River Quarry in the September 20th edition of the Cannon Courier with interest and dismay. It appears that Stones River Quarry LLC is requesting permission to locate a rock quarry 2 tenths of a mile from a residencial development, and 8 tenths of a mile from an elementary school.   Apparently no notification of this request was sent to local residents that would allow them to evaluate and respond in a timely manner. This issue first came to light for most of us with the newspaper article on Tuesday the 20th which provided little or no time to respond intelligently before the comment period expired on September 23rd.  

Regardless of the legal requirements (whatever those requirements may be in a county with virtually no zoning laws), it would seem prudent that notification of hearings should have been sent given the potential noise pollution (the blasting from the Vulcan plant can be heard and felt throughout the western portion of the county – another plant within 3 tenths of a mile would only increase the noise), air pollution (dust), water pollution (runoff), safety issues (50 to 60 dump trucks per day accessing John Bragg Highway), damage to roads, reduction in property values, and the quality of life this type business would negatively impact so close to schools and residences.

This permit process appears to have been fast tracked or at a minimum moved forward under the radar screen of most residents who will be affected by it. If the addition of another rock quarry is such a good idea for the county at this location, you would think that a large sign proclaiming “Gravel Pit Coming To Your Neighborhood Soon” would have been erected rather than the innocuous sign currently in place on the proposed site.  

I am not opposed to rock quarries. They are needed and important, but residents need adequate time to fully evaluate where to best locate a business like this to minimize the negative impact to their quality of life.   

According to the newspaper article, the NPDES permit is the first of several.  So is the comment period mentioned above for the NPDES permit or all permits? We need to understand the permit process and how we can influence it, what impact studies are required of Stones River Quarry LLC, have they been done, and what was the result if they have, what is the reputation of this Indiana company, why was this location initially chosen, how will this project affect property values in the area, what are the traffic safety issues, what must be disclosed in their application, what are the site development requirements, and which federal and state agencies will be involved to name just a few questions that require answers before resolution.  

I therefore propose that the comment period be extended to allow residents the time to respond and officials the time to evaluate whether or not this project makes sense for Cannon County at the proposed location.  

Regards,

Dean Thomas

CC:  Cannon Courier Letters to the Editor
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Members Opinions:
September 24, 2011 at 4:16pm
Thank you, Mr. Thomas! I was horrified to read that we may have to live with yet another rock quarry. I grew up close to the rock quarry on Highway 53, and I can remember our house shaking with every blast. That quarry is now abandoned. Is this the fate of all quarries? What will the "concrete plant" in town look like when they are finished carrying away pieces of our county little by little? These quarries are a nuisance while they operate, and leave behind scars when they are gone. I say we stand up against this! If someone needs rocks, get them from the quarries that already exist!
September 25, 2011 at 11:30pm
Excellent Letter Mr. Thomas and some great “member opinions” as well. I believe this should be a chance to address some issues mentioned in these letters and articles. We, the residence of Cannon County, should demand some zoning laws be put in place. Without zoning laws anyone can come in and build unsafe or unsightly industries. It is just like our lack of building codes that allow anyone to build any kind of structure and call it a residence. This only attracts those that know they can get away with cutting corners and reducing their trail of red tape. All these issues need to be addressed. We have an opportunity to improve and protect our county from future encroachments of this kind. I too am not against quarries in general only when they are pushed through without proper due diligence to the effects on the county and the residence.
As "choateo" mentioned, these quarries shutdown and the businesses leave and nothing is done to restore the area. Even coal strip miners in the Appalachian Mountains have to restore the area to some kind of usable reclaimed natural formation when they are finished rather than pulling up stakes and leaving their mess for someone else to take care of.
It may or may not be too late for this rock quarry to be stopped but everyone around the county should demand change before the next equally impacting industry blindsides the residence and builds next to your home.
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September 26, 2011 at 8:40am
The Tennessee Division of Air Pollution Control has placed a public notice in this week's (Sept. 27) edition of the Cannon Courier seeking comments on the Stones River Quarry project. The notice can be found on this web site to the far right under the headings Shopping & Services/Notices.
September 26, 2011 at 9:03am
This would be the 3rd such eyesore to be located on what is a major entrance to our county. Vulcan does maintain their entrance and it is hidden for the most part. Why would we want that to define our beautiful county? And...this intersection has already had numerous traffic accidents and is known as dangerous for various reasons. It would appear this would only add to the problems. Someone tell us how this can be stopped.
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September 26, 2011 at 9:18am
Zoning laws are likely the only option to stop development of a particular kind in any specified location in the county. As long as a quarry company's plans meet the requirements set forth by the state, it will issue the necessary permits.
September 27, 2011 at 8:06am
Would zoning laws be too late for this particular problem? Has anyone thought that whatever the state issues permits for like nuclear waste, perhaps, could be dumped in Cannon County? I guess that is a reach but anything is possible.
September 27, 2011 at 2:29pm
With declining property value why would our county commission not want to protect the incomee that comes from property tax or protect their county's citizens from losing value from something such as a rock quarry being in a prime residential area?

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