By Marian Galbraith, staff writer
Once again, an amendment to the county’s zoning resolution proposed by attorneys for Wright Paving Contractors sparked a long-winded debate by the Coffee County Commission in front of a large audience on Tuesday, but in the end, it failed.
While the amending resolution #2012-11 reportedly would not have changed the zoning of any particular property or area, the Wrights’ attorneys said it would merely “resolve a conflict” in the resolution that is said to prohibit rock quarries and other high-impact industrial activities from existing anywhere in the county.
In addition to paving companies in Fayetteville, Lewisburg and Shelbyville, the Wrights own property in Hillsboro adjacent to the Rogers Group rock quarry, where they allegedly wish to open their own quarry.
The Wrights and their supporters have long contended that a second rock quarry would be good for the county by providing business competition, higher tax revenues and much-needed jobs.
While the Rogers Group quarry already existed and was “grandfathered in” prior to adoption of the county’s zoning resolution, which currently prohibits high-impact industrial activity in rural areas like Hillsboro, the Wrights purchased their property after the resolution was in place and are now unable to even apply for the permit.
Commissioner Bobby Bryan, who has opposed the new quarry for years, requested a roll-call vote on the issue so the public would know how each commissioner voted.
Nine commissioners voted in favor of the change, namely Janet Fann, Eric Chance, Barry West, Keith Thacker, Mark Kelly, Myra Patton, Gary Kidd, Warren Walker and Steven Jones.
Only seven commissioners voted against it, including Bryan, Lee Duckett, Tim Morris, Rennie Bell, Robin Hines, Jimmie Bradford and Wilma Thomas.
Most of the audience members present were against the idea of another quarry in Hillsboro and were initially upset that the amendment had apparently passed, but were relieved when procedural official Joe Pedigo announced it had failed, since a majority of 11 votes was not obtained.
The remaining four commissioners abstained, namely Virgil Alford, Jackie Duncan, Rush Bricken and Sam Mai.
The discussion began with attorneys on both sides of the issue who were allowed ten minutes each to present their positions, starting with Elizabeth Murphy with the Coffee County Land Stewardship Alliance….
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