Quarry Issue Rocks Commission Again

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Bonnie Thomas has prepared herself for the reality she may not win her battle against a proposed rock quarry.

However, she is determined that Cannon County win the battle against future ones.

Although it wasn’t one of the items on the agenda, the Cannon County Commission had to deal with the issue of rock quarries for the second meeting in a row Tuesday night.

Stones River Quarry, LLC, of Flat Rock, Indiana, is in the final stages of receiving state permits which will allow the company to operate a rock quarry at the intersection of John Bragg Hwy. and Bradyville Road.

While it appears that there is little residents of the area, or the county, can do to prevent a third quarry from doing business along John Bragg Hwy., there was considerable discussion about what could be done to stop future ones.

Thomas, a resident of Readyville, blasted the commission Tuesday for not moving swiftly enough to implement zoning laws in the county.

At its last meeting Oct. 15, the commission voted to have the Cannon County Planning Commission study the "pros and cons" of zoning laws. The planning commission was scheduled to begin taking up the matter at its Oct. 25 meeting, but not enough members attended the meeting for a quorum.

"Passing the buck didn't get anything done," Thomas said as she presented commissioners with a petition from 324 residents who "became fed up with hearing that nothing can be done."

Commissioner Tony Neal said he had studied the manner in which counties formulate zoning laws and found that the process begins with the planning commission.

However, County Executive Mike Gannon disagreed.

"How many more (quarries) do we need," Gannon asked. "We have one of the most beautiful drives in Tennessee from Woodbury and Murfreesboro and it is being ruined. With all due respect, you (commissioners) made a bad mistake by sending it to the planning commission."

Gannon urged the commission to take back control of getting the issue resolved and turn it over to someone with experience in the matter.

Commissioners Russell Reed and Mark Barker both pointed out that the county could not simply ban quarries totally.

"We can't zone them out but we can tell them (businesses) where to put it," Barker said.

Commissioner Bob Stoetzel, new chairman of the 10-member body, said the commission has officially asked the planning commission to address the zoning issue.

"We know that a rock quarry can be built anywhere because we have no zoning but it is out of their hands," Stoetzel said.

Thomas urged the commissioners to move forward without further delay.

"They (state legislature) have set the state up so that we can make decisions for ourselves," Thomas said, "and we don't have to be micromanaged from far away."

She added the battle will continue until zoning laws are adopted.

"We haven't given up on fighting this (Stones River) quarry and doing what we can do, but my purpose here tonight was to urge you to move forward with zoning so that this doesn't happen again."

Patricia Weiland, also a Readyville resident, said she had spoken with a representative of Stones River Quarry and learned it might be sending as many as 100 trucks per day filled with rocks out onto Bradyville Rd., John Bragg Hwy. and other area roads.

Weiland also pointed out that Stones River Quarry's application for permits to operate here includes the words "Site No. 1" which indicates that more are probably being planned.

'I want you to protect our rights," Weiland said to the commissioners. "We have been duped for 18 months."

Following discussion, the commissioners voted to instruct County Executive Gannon to hire a state planner to assist the planning commission in establishing zoning laws. Ironically, the commission turned down the opportunity to contract with a planner earlier this year.

(Check back to CannonCourier.com and see next week's print edition of the Courier for additional coverage of Tuesday's commission meeting.)
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November 09, 2011 at 9:31am
Funny, I don't remember reading anyone saying it was a "bad mistake for the commissioners" to send the process of zoning laws to the planning commission when it was proposed.

With all due respect, if it was such a bad idea then why wasn't it opposed or anything said when the motion was first made?
November 09, 2011 at 11:56am
My question is what "if anything" can the commission or planning commission do to insure that the new quarry does not become an eye soar to the community like the one across from the Arts Center has become?

I know you can have scrap yards take and do things to minimize the sight of all the scrapped cars from the highways, but can you do the same and require a quarry or "concrete plant" to do the same?
November 09, 2011 at 12:33pm
Anything to the rumour that the old quarry on Manchester Road may have a new life?
Possible long term lease with output being available for next step of the widening of 70S.
Maybe Site No. 2?
November 09, 2011 at 1:49pm
Does not 100 extra trucks per day pulling onto US Hwy 70 from the Bradyville Road constitute enough safety concern as to warrant State intervention in this matter? This intersection is already the deadliest in Cannon County. Set aside the obvious destruction of this roadway's scenic beauty as it is most apparent that the county commission is much less concerned with such amenities,and think about what such increased traffic will do the public safety and welfare of Cannon County citizens and all others who travel this highway. This is ridiculous! What are you thinking County Commissioners? YOU have the power to put a stop to such nonsense. It is your life and the lives of your families you should be concerned about as well as each and every person traveling this highway. Count the dead from this intersection since this road was constructed. Fight with facts and not passive indifference.
November 09, 2011 at 5:24pm
I have done a lot of research on zoning because 1) It is something I know very little about and 2) we, the commissioners, are determined to make sure we do everything possible to prevent Cannon County from becoming easy prey for companies that may cause harm to our community.
As I stated last night, there is a procedure for beginning zoning that begins with the planning commission. Because zoning laws are complicated, we are going to hire someone with vast knowledge regarding zoning laws to assist in this.
I want everyone to know that ANYTHING that affects our county and its citizens is important to us and is never ignored. Always feel free to call your commissioner with any questions or concerns you may have.
Tony L. Neal
4th district commissioner
November 09, 2011 at 5:43pm
Tony I believe in your sincerity when you say that you do not ignore what you feel needs to be done for Cannon County. I have seen your desire in action and I am glad we have someone who truly wants what is best for Cannon County working for us.

I also applaude the decision to hire someone with a vast knowledge regarding zoning laws. It makes more sense to rely on that type of knowledge vs. making decsions without knowing everything involved.

Money well spent in my opinion!
November 09, 2011 at 10:17pm
From our tourism committee: "Come visit lovely Cannon County. Home of rock quarries and moonshine. (and all you thought we had was crack and meth)"

November 09, 2011 at 11:42pm
I was researching zoning laws as well. I too as a resident of Cannon County wanted to become more informed. I found, online, the "Tennessee Planning Commission Handbook on zoning" .(http://www.tnapa.org/docs/Zoning_HB.pdf)

Zoning is a large undertaking but it would be worth the effort in the long run. There are certified zoning planners, as the commissioners mentioned, that would need to be hired but one planner would not be able to handle the entire load. Not only will the county have to plan and implement zoning laws, but the county will need to hire people to enforce those laws.
November 10, 2011 at 12:14am
I do not know if this would be a state or county directive but when and if these industries come in that "remove natural resources" it would be great if they could be made to restore the property to some usable form at the end of their production life cycle. The US Department Of the Interior has a reclamation department that deals with reclaiming the land after use. For example Strip mining in WV was an eye sore but they are now forced to do something with the land once the resources are used up.
November 10, 2011 at 7:07am
Someone has to sell or lease the land before a quarry can be established.Solution: Don't do it if you are a land owner!
November 10, 2011 at 7:43am
Hey if you have lemons & water add sugar......so across from Arts Center looks like a beautiful AMPHITHEATER BY THE RIVER........could be possible.........thanks sinkhole 1959...Sarah Womack
November 10, 2011 at 12:04pm
It's a shame the "Quarreymen" aren't around any longer to open such a venue!
Sorry.... couldn't resist.
November 10, 2011 at 1:44pm
katydid you are right that someone has to sell or lease the land before it can be established.

However, if someone comes to you and says here is $750,000 for your 35 acres of land with an appraisal of $75,000 and I will pay all of the closing costs and the cost of having the title search and surveying done most people are going to say "where can I sign"?

Unfortunately, when you have 3/4 of a million dollars dangled in front of your face most people don't really give a crap whether or not someone is going to build a sanctuary or a rock quarry.
November 10, 2011 at 2:11pm
To add to Corey's comment, and in this economy unfortunatly money is speaking louder than the eye soar or the harm to the community is going to be from the new quarry.

I am wondering though. It was stated that over 100 trucks a day were going to be coming out of there. How? If Vulcan is hurting for business, are there really going to be that many trucks? I don't see 100 trucks coming out of the "concrete plant" either. This seems over inflated unless the company is reselling the rock out of state.
November 10, 2011 at 3:44pm
I heard through the grapevine that the company thought it had the inside track on supplying the gravel for the four lane road built between McMinnville & Woodbury.

Who knows if that is true, but my gut tells me that someone, somewhere, for some reason believes this site will have a potential to sell a lot of gravel in the future.

No one drops that kind of money unless they believe they are going to get a return for it.
November 11, 2011 at 9:57am
Just like our state to hire outside of the state to do a job. What about all the unemployed in our state that could have used this contract. Vulcan is only employing one person within our community and they could be hiring a company outside of the state to supply the job. That is a good example to set for our state.

I am not an advocate for Vulcan just saying we have businesses in this state that could use a contract such as that and they choose to saddle our state and community with another quarry.
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