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Public hearing regarding Hillsboro rock quarry is tonight

Posted on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 10:03 am

By Marian Galbraith, staff writer

A public hearing has been scheduled for 5 p.m.  today (Tuesday) at the Coffee County Administrative Plaza discuss zoning issues that would allow a second rock quarry to open near Hillsboro.

The Coffee County Commission meeting will follow at 6 p.m. with an agenda that includes a resolution to change the zoning of a large hillside property owned by Wright Paving Contractors LLC to a high-impact industrial zoning so that the company can begin mining the property for gravel and stone.

A second resolution on the agenda would increase the price for reclamation bonding of all new mining operations from $2,500 per acre, not to exceed $95,000 per project, to $4,000 per acre, not to exceed $200,000.

While Wright Paving has never actually applied for a permit to operate a rock quarry on its Hillsboro property, neighbors in the area have for years been protesting the company’s attempts to get the zoning changed to M-2, which is now required for all new mining operations.

The property in question is located almost immediately adjacent to an existing rock quarry owned by Rogers Group.

While the Rogers Group property is still zoned R-1 for single-family residential use, officials say this existing quarry was “grandfathered in” before the M-2 requirement was enacted in 2006.

While the Coffee County Planning Commission has thus far not recommended the zoning change for the Wrights’ property and some neighbors continue to oppose having a second quarry in the area, commissioners Barry West and Janet Fann continue to support the Wrights’ efforts on the grounds that it would “create new jobs and increase property tax revenues,” which they say the county desperately needs.

Moreover, The Wrights claim to have a petition with hundreds of signatures of other Hillsboro residents who do not oppose having a second quarry nearby.

Furthermore, the Wrights claim that many of the so-called “neighbors” who continue to show up at meetings to protest the new quarry actually work for the Rogers Group quarry and live outside the area.

The hearing and commission meeting will be held at the Coffee County Administrative Plaza at 1329 McArthur St. in Manchester.

Prior to the rock quarry discussion, the public hearing agenda also includes two zoning items pertaining to a new railroad depot near CFC recycling on Highway 53 between Tullahoma and Manchester.

While this issue has not been as highly controversial as the rock quarry, it could be of interest to residents nearby.