A proposed asphalt plant in southeast Hall got steamrolled by residents, then recommended for denial Monday night by the Hall County Planning Commission.
Residents filled the Feb. 18 meeting room to oppose Marietta-based Baldwin Paving Co.’s request to build an asphalt drum mix plant — which mixes rock, asphalt cement and various other fillers — on 10 acres at 2677 Candler Road in southeast Hall,
“No one is opposed to (improving) the community and putting new plants in,” Adam Roberts told the commission. “But straight across from the school is not a good place, in my opinion, for an asphalt plant.”
Much of the concern about the request was due to the plant’s location across Candler Road from Myers Elementary School.
A doctor talked about how he feared plant emissions could cause problems for asthmatic children at the school. A parent said she would put her child in private school because she didn’t want her “exposed to this.”
Other concerns focused on traffic impacts on Roy Parks Road, which runs off Candler Road and would be near the proposed site.
Ryan Teague, lawyer for Baldwin Paving, told the board that traffic from the plant would not interfere with school traffic.
Still, operating hours was a key issue for planning board members, questioning Teague for several minutes on the topic.
“It’s concerning that a competing facility could run 24/7 and we would have to be limited,” Teague said at one point.
Planning board member Frank Sosebee said, “Even if you’re competing with another facility, they don’t have the same circumstances that you have. We’re trying to work with you and we’re trying to make the neighbors happy also.”
Board member Stan Hunt said he didn’t have a problem with the plant’s location, especially because it’s close to a rock quarry.
“What I have a struggle with is the unknown,” he said. “We need a detailed plan of how you plan to get in and out of the property — more than just a driveway on (railroad property) that you may or may not have permission to use.”
The board ended up voting 3-1 for denial, with Chairman Chris Braswell in favor. The recommendation now goes to the Hall County Board of Commissioners for a final vote.
“I struggle to prevent any business from doing business, and I encourage you to continue looking into this and coming into Hall County with your business,” Hunt said.
Baldwin owns and operates six such plants in metro Atlanta.
The plant did draw support from North Hall resident Chris Riley, who said he knows the applicant.
“He’s a good person and does have a good business that he runs,” he said. “He was encouraged to come to Hall County because we wanted competition in the asphalt business.”
The Hall planning staff, which recommends approval of the rezoning with conditions, said in its report on the proposal that asphalt manufacturing is a use permitted in a heavy industrial zone.
The property is now zoned heavy industrial and agricultural-residential, with Baldwin seeking to rezone all of the property to heavy industrial.