LETTER: More Time Needed To Comment On Quarry
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Saturday, September 24, 2011 1:40 pm
Mike Gannon, County Executive
Joint Economic and Community Development Board
Cannon County Courthouse
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.
CC: Cannon Courier Letters to the Editor