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Mincey Marble plans for new plant face stiff opposition
Lewis Miller starts to voice concerns to the Hall County Board of Commissioners about a marble company’s construction plans before he was told to hold off until a Thursday public hearing.

Hall County Board of Commissioners

What: Public hearing and vote on rezoning to allow Mincey Marble plans to put up plant in West Hall

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville

A proposed West Hall marble plant is creating quite the stir among area residents.

Some 30 people showed up Monday afternoon at the Hall County Board of Commissioners work session expecting to comment or hear discussion on Mincey Marble plans to put up a 100,750-square-foot building off busy Browns Bridge Road.

After commissioners told them comments would be reserved for a public hearing on the issue Thursday night, a stream of residents headed for the exit.

One of those who remained behind was Lewis Miller. During the commission’s designated public comments time, he started speaking about concerns he had about the proposal before he was cut off by County Attorney Bill Blalock.

“These are the kinds of oppositional comments we should take at the Thursday meeting,” Blalock said, adding that Mincey didn’t have a representative prepared to respond.

After the meeting, Miller told The Times that his main complaint was that Mincey’s industrial plans aren’t compatible with the surrounding, mostly residential area.

“Not only that, residents are upset about the obnoxious smell of (the chemical) styrene (at the site),” Miller said.

Also, the building would be in “a blind spot and is a traffic hazard,” he said. “We’ve already had enough accidents and deaths on Browns Bridge. It will significantly impact local residential values and, therefore, real estate tax values.”

Mincey Marble is seeking a rezoning that would enable the 39-year-old cast marble manufacturer to go forward with the building project. The new plant would be across the street from the current plant at 4321 Browns Bridge Road, or next to Spainhill Road, west of Cherokee Trail.

The company’s plans got the Hall County Planning Commission’s approval, with conditions, on June 20.

A couple of residents spoke in opposition to the project at the planning board meeting. Among their concerns was traffic on Browns Bridge Road, a curvy, two-lane artery between McEver Road and the Forsyth County line that’s being eyed for future improvements.

“Browns Bridge Road is ridiculous anyway, if you’ve ever tried to get in and out of any place on the road,” said Russell McCall at the meeting.

Ed Myers, a civil engineer working with Mincey, told the planning board that the company is working with the Georgia Department of Transportation on new turn lanes off Browns Bridge Road at the property.

“We’re definitely going to try to improve traffic that goes through there,” he said.

Also, in addressing concerns about the project’s impact on Spainhill, Myers said construction traffic wouldn’t use the road during the project and no driveways onto Spainhill are planned.

Hall County planning staff, meanwhile, has recommended denial of the project for other reasons.

“Marble manufacturing may have an adverse effect on the existing residential properties,” a staff report states. “The proposed use is likely to produce obnoxious odors, noise, dust and possibly other objectionable conditions.”

Myers said that while the proposed building is next to residential properties, “there are pretty good natural buffers due to the hardwoods that are outside of what’s been graded.

“And we’re not anticipating removing any more trees from the site.”

If the rezoning is approved, construction on the new building could start in August and be completed by the first of the year, said Jim Huddleston, Mincey’s vice president of operations.