A proposed asphalt plant meant to replace an aging facility in south Forsyth has some neighbors concerned.
Forsyth County officials have applied for a county-initiated zoning to build the proposed plant on nine acres on Granite Lane currently zoned for heavy industrial use and part of an existing quarry in the area. The application is set to come before the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners on Thursday.
Plans submitted with the application show the new plant being built about 0.7 miles from the current location.
In recent weeks, neighbors have come out strongly against the plant, and more than 6,300 local residents have signed an online petition opposing the plant because of its proximity to new residential developments, the project going through the fast-tracked county-initiated process, not all residents in the area being notified of the change and health risks from the new plant.
Neighbor Yun Chen said though the quarry and existing plant have been on the property for decades, the surrounding area has changed.
“The old plant, when it was first built, not that many residents lived nearby,” he said. “If you want the new plant, you have to reevaluate the situation right now, thoroughly, by considering the nearby community development in the recent 10 to 20 years.”
Forsyth County Commissioner Dennis Brown, who represents the area and was named in the petition, said he was somewhat surprised by the pushback and said there was some incorrect information in the petition, such as it being an all-new plant.
“It’s not a bigger plant, it’s the same size, same volume, same output, same conditions of operation, but it will be a newer, more improved, more environmentally sound, quieter, more efficient plant than the existing one,” he said. “It’s a win-win.”
Neighbors had called for CW Matthews to go through the typical zoning process, rather than one initiated by the county, to give residents more time to look over the proposals.
While that appears unlikely, Brown said he is planning to recommend at Thursday’s meeting that commissioners wait to make a decision.
“I’m going to ask for another public hearing jointly with the planning and zoning board and a decision put off until December,” Brown said.
An asphalt plant across the street from Myers Elementary School on Candler Road was approved by the Hall County Board of Commissioners in April despite similar concerns from residents.
Marietta-based Baldwin Paving Co. wants to build an asphalt drum mix plant, which mixes rock, asphalt cement and other fillers, on the 10-acre site.
The Hall County Planning Commission had recommended denial of the request on Feb. 18.
Commissioners approved the plant under the condition that trucks not access the property from Roy Parks Road. Trucks also will not be allowed to enter or leave the property during Myers Elementary’s arrival and dismissal times.