Two of the main reasons Franklin County has planning and zoning regulations is to control growth in a reasonable manner and to provide protection for property owners.
The granting of a conditional use permit for a concrete plant at Gray Summit goes against providing protection for nearby property owners. The residents who live nearby and the Shaw Nature Reserve were denied protection in granting the permit. There are no arguments for granting the permit that are strong enough to justify locating the plant there. One member who voted against the permit pointed out that nearby there is an industrial park where it would be suitable for the plant.
The commission did approve conditions that must be met when the plant operates. Some do provide some protection, but not enough. We can’t help but wonder about the enforcement of the conditions.
Franklin County has a sparkling jewel in the Shaw Nature Reserve, which draws visitors in six figures every year. Does it make sense to locate a concrete plant next to it? We don’t think it does. We should protect it from anything that would harm it in any way.
There will be noise, dust and truck traffic at the concrete plant regardless of promised measures to control those undesirable effects from the plant’s operations. It is the kind of operation that it is nearly impossible to control all of the undesirable spinoffs.
The truck traffic is a concern to nearby residents. We certainly can understand that. There was a concrete plant on Front Street in Washington for many years. The truck traffic was obvious. That plant now is in a location at South Point. We have not heard any complaints about it in that somewhat isolated location and normally the truck traffic from it is not common on city streets.
Members of the planning and zoning commission are confronted with sensitive matters that involve people and often businesses. An argument was made that the plant will create jobs. At the industrial park at Pacific the same number of jobs would occur. That’s a weak argument.
The decision should be appealed to the board of adjustment. Nearby property owners and the Shaw Nature Reserve deserve protection. They have been denied protection which goes against one of the purposes of the zoning code. And, it’s poor planning to put a concrete plant at that location.