Despite safety, noise and property infringement concerns expressed by nearby residents, the Franklin County Board of Zoning Appeals approved a use-permitted-on-appeal request Thursday that will allow Tinsley Asphalt Inc. to operate a rock quarry in the 6500 block of Greenhaw Road.
The board heard comments from residents who said a rock quarry would be incompatible with surrounding land uses that are zoned residential and agricultural.
After 11 years amid controversy, the County Commission approved a request in April by Tinsley to rezone the property from an agricultural district to an industrial district to allow the quarry.
About 50 residents attended Thursday’s Board of Zoning Appeals meeting to again express their opposition.
Chairman Monty Hawkins said the board’s function is not to attempt to overturn the commission’s decision because it does not have the authority to do so.
He said the purpose is to ensure that the zoning regulations are followed and requirements are put in place to make sure Tinsley abides by them.
Tinsley will be required to meet road safety, drainage, reclamation, bridge weight and property use requirements, according to the statutes.
Concerns were expressed about initially having up to 32 24-ton loads per day pass over Greenhaw Road and whether a bridge would be able to safely accommodate the weight.
Other potential problems included excessive noise, dust in abundance and whether residential foundations would crack due to blasting.
Jim Patterson, environmental manager for St. John Engineering LLC, said Tinsley would have to strictly follow environmental laws, and measures will be in place to ensure that they are adhered to.
Johnny Woodall, county highway superintendent, said Greenhaw Road meets state standards for larger trucks, and plans are to widen the shoulders in the future to provide more roadway surface.
Woodall also said he would contact the Tennessee Department of Transportation office in Chattanooga so that safety signage will be installed on Highway 64 where it intersects with Greenhaw Road.
Other signs will also be placed by Old Alto Highway which intersects with Greenhaw Road just before it reaches Highway 64.
Hawkins said truck drivers are required to have commercial driver’s licenses and must abide by more strict safety standards than normal drivers do because of the heavy weights they are hauling.
Residents of Greenhaw Road and other nearby streets questioned how effective any of the requirements would be and asked the board to deny the use-permitted-on-appeal request.
Michael Rudder, a Franklin County Planning Commission member who resides on Greehhaw Road, said the property that was rezoned is surrounded by residential and agricultural property. He said the zoning law hasn’t been properly followed because such an incompatible use as a rock quarry near an agricultural district isn’t allowed, according to statutes.
However, Planning Director Janet Petrunich said the county’s zoning laws have allowed rock quarries in agricultural districts under use-permitted-on-appeal status. She said that moving from an agricultural district to an industrial district isn’t out of the norm, and agricultural zoning most closely aligns with industrial zoning.