Mincey Marble Manufacturing seeks to rezone an 11.68 acre parcel on Browns Bridge Road from Agricultural-Residential to Planned Industrial Development, for a new manufacturing plant across the street from their headquarters.
In three communication efforts during August, the company’s president asked neighbors to trust Mincey’s good intentions. The company asserts that it is not affecting the character of the area nor setting rezoning precedent; is modernizing, not expanding; is not adding to traffic concerns along Browns Bridge Road; and is a good steward of the surrounding community and environment
Unfortunately, much of Mincey’s message offers a selective view of the facts.
In our predominantly residential area, there are 680 homes within 1 mile of the company’s two plants. More than 520 residents signed a petition opposing the rezoning request, and many are voicing concerns to Hall County commissioners. They are convinced their quality of life will suffer further if this rezoning is approved.
Here are facts that concern neighboring residents:
Impact on the area’s character: Originally requesting Heavy Industrial status, Mincey modified its request to PID zoning. This does not alter plans to industrialize residential property. Many residents fear weakening property values and follow-on rezoning requests.
Industrial expansion: If rezoning is approved, Mincey will add a 100,750-square-foot plant to its existing 141,000 square feet of facilities, for a total exceeding 240,000 square feet (assuming its 60,000 square foot plant becomes storage space). Mincey claims it is merely “modernizing,” but the proposed 70 percent increase in operating space is substantial. Even if the outdated plant were closed, the increase would be 29 percent.
Traffic concerns: Mincey has not addressed the critical concern that its routine traffic between the existing and new buildings (including pedestrians) would be crossing the busy highway near two blind curves.
Environmental stewardship: Mincey routinely releases large quantities of styrene gas that is a hazardous air pollutant, unlike the inert styrene found in most homes. Many neighboring residents report the noxious smell of styrene often forces them to stay inside and wait for the wind to clear the air. Numerous residents fear long-term styrene exposure may harm their health. When they smell styrene, they are exposed to concentrations that concern federal health agencies.
Only recently did Mincey report ordering new control equipment, but owners have not explained how effective the equipment is likely to be.
Since its launch in 1977, Mincey has experienced a 40-fold growth in 39 years. Apparently the owners envision continuing to grow on Browns Bridge Road. We respect their success, but oppose their growing further in a designated residential area. It’s time for them to relocate to a designated industrial area that can embrace and better support their needs.
We each live within a quarter-mile of Mincey’s main plant, giving us first-hand experience as neighbors of the company. We’re asking county commissioners to deny Mincey Marble’s rezoning request. The stakes are high for the residents who have tried hard to be good neighbors to the company.
Lewis C. Miller and John L. Kandler
Browns Bridge Residential Corridor Coalition