Hall County Board of Commissioners meeting
What: Vote on rezoning for proposed Mincey Marble plant
When: 6 p.m. Thursday
Where: Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville
The proposed rezoning needed for a West Hall manufacturer to build a new plant drew only silence Monday at a work session of the Hall County Board of Commissioners.
But that’s just the calm before the storm.
County officials acknowledge that a scheduled vote on Thursday could be one of the most contentious in recent memory.
Commissioner Jeff Stowe said he wasn’t surprised by the level of opposition, which could show in the hundreds at the meeting this week.
Rezonings have only become more controversial as development and homes intersect.
Mincey Marble’s rezoning request to allow the company to build the plant on 11 acres across from current operations at 4321 Browns Bridge Road has been met with protests from hundreds of nearby homeowners.
Plans to build a new 100,750-square-foot plant have raised several objections, such as potential public health effects, but the location is the root of the opposition.
Residents argue that the plant doesn’t fit the character of the area.
But company officials said building next to the current facility makes the most sense.
Commissioner Scott Gibbs said he’s already weighed this proposal more than any other planning issue during his time on the board. He’s even driven by the proposed site four or five times to inspect it himself.
“This is one of those where I don’t know where I’m at,” Gibbs said. “I’m torn.”
On the one hand, Mincey has been located in the area for decades, and new developments have sprung up around it. But now that it’s predominantly residential, the needle has moved, Gibbs said.
The county’s own comprehensive plan, which calls for the area to be residential despite Mincey’s existence, may bear some blame.
County officials are currently working on an update and potential changes to the overall plan, which guides growth for the coming decades.
Ahead of Thursday’s vote, Gibbs said he is interested to hear from both sides, and he noted that he’s heard more support from businesses and individuals than he expected.