Tinsley Asphalt Owner Peter Tinsley is shown at his office desk in Estill Springs amid stringent environmental permit documents the company has worked through and received approval to operate a rock quarry at Greenhaw Road. The County Commission will decide on March 20 whether to rezone the property from an agricultural to an industrial district which would allow the quarry to operate.
—Staff Photo by Brian Justice
Citing the timing is right, Tinsley Asphalt is optimistic the Franklin County Commission will approve a rezoning request that would allow a rock quarry near Greenhaw Road near Decherd.
The planning commission recently approved 3-2 to forward the request to the county commission to deliberate at its 7 p.m. Monday meeting at the courthouse.
Planning commissioners Johnny Woodall, Greg Houston and Steve Dixon voted in favor of the request while Michael Rudder, a Greenhaw area resident, and Eddie Clark were in opposition. Jeremy Price abstained from voting on the issue.
The zoning change would be from agricultural to an industrial district which would allow the rock quarry.
The planning commission’s recommendation calls for use permitted on appeal, meaning that if approved, the quarry’s operations would be subject to strict review by the Franklin Co. Board of Zoning Appeals.
However, Greenhaw area residents remain opposed to Tinsley resurrecting the issue that was defeated nine years ago by the county commission.
The legal fight for the quarry began in 2008 and was strongly opposed by residents of the Greenhaw neighborhood who said it would diminish property values and destroy their quality of life in the rural area.
About 30 residents from the Greenhaw neighborhood attended the Feb. 27 planning commission and reaffirmed their stances against the rezoning request.
Peter Tinsley, Tinsley Asphalt owner, said Tuesday his company must abide by strict standards and has taken the required steps to get permits from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and Environmental Protection Agency, which ensures the quarry’s operations will be handled properly and not negatively impact the neighborhood.
“We just thought it was time to move forward,” he said, explaining why Tinsley decided to resurrect the rezoning request. “We feel that education is on our side…A lot of people are fearful of things they don’t know about.”
Tinsley said blasting is heavily regulated by the State of Tennessee. He said the state has standards set for structures 300 feet from blasting sites. He added that the Greenhaw area has no structures within 1,000 feet from where blasting would occur in the quarry.
He said inspections were done on three structures closest to the quarry and no damage was reported.
“We want to be as good of a neighbor as we can be,” Tinsley said. “We went well beyond what the state required.”
Will Tinsley Asphalt be able to blend in with the Greenhaw community?
“I hope so,” Tinsley said. “I hope people can see we have a vested interest in the county.”
He said the financial savings the county would have from having a local quarry would be a tremendous financial boost to the county.
Tinsley said the total savings to the county would be about $2.36 million per year on the asphalt and aggregate gravel products combined.
He said the expected savings on asphalt is about $10 a ton. Franklin County now pays $77.77 per ton. The reduced price would be about $67 per ton, Tinsley said.
Franklin County purchases 80,000 tons per year, meaning the savings would be about $860,000 annually on asphalt alone, with expenditures reduced from $6.221 million to $5.36 million, Tinsley said.
On aggregate rock, used to gravel roads, the savings is estimated at about $5 per ton, Tinsley said.
The county applies about 300,000 tons annually, meaning that savings would be about $1.5 million annually. Franklin County pays $2.85 million on average annually for 300,00o tons of aggregate at $9.50 per ton.
Tinsley said the quarry that serves the county is owned by a company that has no local competition.
While Franklin County pays $9.50 per ton for aggregate, in nearby Cannon County, the price is $4.90, Tinsley said.
In addition to the $2.36 million in savings on rock material Franklin County taxpayers would receive, Tinsley said the quarry is expected to add 10 to 15 jobs to the local employment list. He added that the average salary would be about $40,000, meaning those employees would be spending their money locally, bolstering Franklin County’s economy.
Another economic plus Tinsley highlighted is the county has a 15-cent-per-ton mineral severance tax the quarry would pay. At present, that money is going elsewhere because Franklin County imports quarry products, he said.
That means Franklin County would get an additional $57,000, based on 380,000 tons of annual rock product coming from the quarry.
Tinsley said his employees live in Franklin County and support its economic well-being.
“We’re raised here and live in Franklin County,” he said. “All of our families are from here, and we spend our money here. We’ve got local folks doing business here.”
He then referred to the county commission and the Greenhaw residents.
“If they understand the requirements by the state, hopefully they’ll see this is good and that it’s economically good for the county,” Tinsley said.