[Masthead] Mostly Cloudy ~ 90°F  
Feels like: 99°F
Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Quarry request denied

Friday, April 26, 2013

Shelbyville's Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) voted to reject the conditional use of industrial property for a proposed rock quarry.

In a meeting that lasted until midnight, the BZA voted 6-1-1 that the quarry Wright Paving and Custom Stone LLC has been trying to build on L. Fisher Road for the past nine years would not meet "performance standards."

While members of the BZA, meeting as the planning commission, approved the site plan quickly, the BZA listened to a variety of experts for five and a half hours before voting.

Members cited issues such as blasting, noise, vibration, dust, compatibility with the area, public health, safety and welfare and the region not being sparsely developed as reasons to reject it.

But those supporting the quarry said that the city hasn't been controlling one already in operation near the Wrights' property, and that Shelbyville codes are not being enforced.

Reconsideration

Last November, a state appellate judge ordered the BZA to consider the Wrights' original 2004 application for the quarry "at the earliest possible date," reviewed under the zoning ordinance that existed in February 2004, before changes were made which kept the Wrights from building on the site.

BZA member Jim Warren was the only one voting for the quarry, stating that members were "locked in" a situation created 30 years ago and that the Wrights should have been given permission nine years ago to open the facility, stating the area is zoned for that use.

But neighbors who live near the site stated their property had already sustained damage from the Vulcan Materials quarry.

School superintendent Don Embry told the BZA that 1,250 students and 125 staff members would be impacted at Central High School, noting that the blasting also affects special needs students.

The city employed a number of experts in mining, geo-tech issues, traffic and noise. Jim Ludwiczak of Blasting and Mining Consultants said that the area was high risk and hazardous to neighbors, pointing out it was possible that stone could be blasted 4,000 feet from the site.

Wrights' view

Attorney Josh McCreary, representing the Wrights, said the area had already been zoned for quarrying in 2004, also noting that the county built a number of schools in the industrial zone.

As for blasting concerns, McCreary asked if any material had blasted out of the Vulcan site and questioned why they did not receive materials from the city's experts until last Friday. The Wrights' lawyer said the law was "very clear" and that the zoning is already set.

Environmental engineer Jim Patterson of St. John's Engineering took issue with the performance standards, saying it was not possible to meet them "beyond a doubt."

He said if they applied that standard to them, then it should be applied to all commercial and industrial properties in the city, noting that the existing Vulcan quarry does not meet those standards.

McCreary also noted that no industry could meet the noise standards set forth by the BZA, and that the Wrights could not comply with the standards in advance.

Tommy Wright of Wright Paving had no comment following the meeting.