These Greenhaw neighborhood residents stand firm against a rezoning that would allow a rock quarry, shown in the background, to operate. They’ve highlighted how blasting noise, large gravel trucks, increased traffic and the rock quarry’s incompatible presence would greatly infringe on their way of life. Sharing in the opposition are, from left, Mark Wert, 761 Gipson Lane; Gary Bass, 2948 Warren Chapel Road; Paul Hill, 5278 Greenhaw Road; Buddy Hill 5250 Greenhaw Road; Denise and Michael Rudder, 4066 Greenhaw Road; Lorrie Barrett, 230 Stevens Lane; Elmer Myers, 5627 Greenhaw Road; and Glenda Partin, 5627 Greenhaw Road. The picture was taken from Myers and Partin’s front yard.
—Staff Photo by Brian Justice
To put it mildly, not much has changed in the nine years since the last time a request was made to Franklin County government to rezone property in the 5600 block of Greenhaw Road to accommodate a rock quarry.
Residents in the immediate area have made it abundantly clear they still don’t want their rural, peaceful setting infringed upon by what they fear would drastically change their way of life for the worse if the Tinsley Asphalt owned property were rezoned from an agricultural to an industrial district.
The Planning Commission approved 3-2 to forward the rezoning 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 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 Board of Zoning Appeals.
Peter Tinsley, Tinsley Asphalt owner, said recently 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.
Tinsley also said the quarry’s operation would greatly benefit the local economy by providing the county with a $10 per ton savings on rock material. He also said the operating quarry would also add 10 to 15 jobs to the employment role, plus the company would be paying mineral taxes on the rock material that comes from the quarry.
An economic impact study was done by Dr. Charles L. Baum, Middle Tennessee State University professor, and the information has been forwarded to the County Commission.
The study says:
“Projections in this report indicate that the total effect (the direct, indirect, and induced effects) of the $2,110,485 in additional Tinsley output is an increase of $2,502,191 in county output. When business output increases, personal income increases as well, resulting in a total increase of $700,255 in personal income in Franklin County.
“An increase in business output will also increase employment. The total increase in employment from the proposed quarrying activities is approximated to be 16.3 jobs for Franklin County residents. On a percentage basis, this increase in employment is projected to decrease the unemployment rate in Franklin County by 1.57 percent, from 5.31 to 5.23 percent.”
The information may be economically encouraging to some, but Greenhaw residents remain adamantly against having a quarry in their neighborhood. Some have said they doubt the economic impact will be anywhere near the announced projections.
Residents have responded in opposition with about 30 attending the Planning Commission’s Feb. 27 meeting.
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.
Those points were made again to the Planning Commission again. In addition to property values and quality of life issues, concerns about safety from large trucks on a narrow road were also expressed by Greenhaw area residents.
Rudder said the rezoning couldn’t be more incompatible. He said the move would be going through complete opposite ends of a spectrum — agricultural, the most rural use, to industrial, a complete contrast to that peaceful way of life.
He made his point in an open letter to the County Commission.
“The Tinsleys are trying to make it about money, but it’s not,” Rudder said. “It’s about zoning. The actual question is whether to spot zone from one end of the allowed use spectrum all the way to the other.”
Rudder said the zoning resolution refers to protections against incompatible use many times, and includes a definition of compatibility which again references use but fails to define it.
He said “any prudent layperson” would understand there might be questions in moving from an agricultural to a high density residential district, or low density residential to commercial, or medium density residential to industrial.
But he said it defies reasoning to go from agricultural to industrial.
“If any scenario met the definition of incompatibility it would be going from (agricultural) and (low density residential) all the way to (a heavy industrial special district),” he said, referring to the County Commission: “You are being asked to violate the zoning resolution’s protection against incompatible use.”
To Glenda Partin, 5627 Greenhaw Road, it couldn’t be visually and sonically more incompatible.
Her property is the closest to the quarry, which lies just across Greenhaw Road from her home, clearly visible and mirroring a baseball diamond view from home plate to deep center field.
Partin said having to deal with her property and way of life being threatened again is extremely frustrating. She added she will be at Monday’s County Commission meeting to voice her opposition to the rezoning.
Mark Wert, 761 Gipson Lane, said some of the families in the Greenhaw community have ties to their property dating back 100 years. He added that he and other residents fear the quarry could completely ruin their neighborhood.
Partin and Elmer Myers, who also lives at 5627 Greenhaw Road; Rudder and his wife Denise, who reside at 4066 Greenhaw Road; Lorrie Barrett, 230 Stevens Lane; Gary Bass, 2948 Warren Chapel Road; Buddy Hill, 5250 Greenhaw Road; and Paul Hill, 5278 Greenhaw Road; agreed they are adamantly opposed to having the property rezoned to accommodate the quarry because of the extreme negative impacts it would have on their neighborhood.
Rudder said the rezoning could set a precedence where other incompatible rezoning is routinely done and more rural residents could face the same obstacles and stressful experience the Greenhaw community has. He added it could also become an obstacle for county government.
“It’s also worth noting that this exposes the county and the commissioners to litigation,” he said.
Rudder said a retention pond at the quarry has been inadequate, and Decherd’s water quality will ultimately be affected.
“We’ve already demonstrated that the retention pond is woefully inadequate … and the Decherd dye test proved Greenhaw water circulates through the Decherd water system every day,” he said. “If the commission willfully contradicts the zoning resolution, and some livestock, families or even an entire water system are harmed as a result, it could certainly be argued that they would be liable.”