The planning commission rejects the proposed site plan | Hartsville
In a unanimous vote, the Trousdale County Planning Commission rejected the site plan proposal for Hunters Point Quarry Monday night at the Trousdale County Courthouse.
The inhabitants protesting against the quarry project turned out en masse to relay their message of opposition to the members of the planning commission. Their strong message was simply to reject the proposed career plan.
“I don’t live near the proposed quarry, but I am a resident of Trousdale County,” said Nate Ellis. “I have listened to the concerns of those against and those in favor (of the proposed quarry). I believe that this project should be unequivocally rejected by all members of this commission. Ultimately what we envision comes down to what kind of county government we want to be. Do we want to represent the people of the county who fund the government, or do we primarily want to represent the industries that don’t live and raise children in this county? »
Other county residents questioned whether the potential long-term benefits, if any, would outweigh the disadvantages of quarrying.
“We’re looking at $15 million or $75 million for the county,” said Trousdale County resident Casey Kuhn, who was recently hired as the principal of Trousdale County High School. “Fifteen million is not enough for a new school, a new prison or other projects. Seventy-five yes, but it will take 50 years to get it. Probably after the first year, $15 million will be needed to repair the roads.
Nashville attorney and zoning expert Jamie Hollin spoke to the planning commission on behalf of his clients, who live in Civil District 6, where the proposed quarry site is located.
“You’ve been buried in paper and expert reports,” Hollin said. “If I were the plaintiff’s attorney, I would have done the same to distract you from what is most important to your determination.
“In district A-1 (an agriculturally zoned district), mining or quarrying is strictly prohibited. These are not my words. It’s the zoning ordinance. This body does not have the legal authority to approve a strictly prohibited site plan in the A-1 zoning district. These are the facts. The question of whether another body in this county can authorize the use of the mines and quarries is not before this commission in the context of this application.
Hollin then encouraged the planning commission to reject Hunters Point’s proposed quarry application.
“Here’s where the rubber meets the road,” Hollin said. “I would ask this commission to find that this area is not underdeveloped and to reject the claim on that basis, because the burden of proving this is on all the experts and all the paperwork. Reject…you have no legal authority anywhere to approve strictly prohibited use.
After several meetings with the county attorney, Trousdale County Planning Commission Chairman John Kerr called for a vote by the planning commissioners.
“Our legal counsel advised me — we’ve spoken several times over the past few days — and it’s his interpretation of our zoning regulations that this doesn’t fit into an agricultural district,” Kerr said. “So based on his legal opinion, I don’t see anywhere we could spend this tonight.”
Speaking to legal counsel for Turn-Key Processing Solutions (the quarry company), Joshua Denton, Trousdale County Attorney Branden Bellar said the installation of a quarry at the proposed site was not just not very doable.
“I took a very objective view of A-1’s zoning and goals, and quite frankly, he was trying to fit a round peg into a square hole for me,” Bellar said. “It just wasn’t there. More precisely, it is simply not an authorized use. It’s not a permitted incidental use, and besides, I don’t think you can make it happen by any special exception. Trying to read mining and related service that would fit in an A-1…it just doesn’t exist. The blanket import of an A-1 district in Trousdale County, Tennessee does not support your interpretation. »
However, Denton disagreed with Bellar.
“We’ve heard a lot of feedback from citizens,” Denton said. “We just got the county attorney’s legal opinion, which is new to us. So I guess what I would say is – from the perspective that he (the career) is not allowed in A-1 – we respectfully disagree.
Although this is good news for the people of District 6, they expect the fight is not over.
“We expect them to seek a zoning change or take legal action,” District 6 resident Becky Johnson said. “We’ll wait and watch.”