The real problem with Mincey Marble is that it is too big and doesn’t belong in a rural residential area anymore.
Mincey Marble started as a small “highway business” on 1.5 acres 39 years ago. Since 2008, its manufacturing plant and production has grown dramatically. It now owns 48 acres along Browns Bridge Road and has built on less than half of that.
Mincey Marble wants three agricultural lots rezoned to Industrial. It plans to build a 100,750-square-foot “high tech operation” there to “replace” a 68,000-square-foot plant on Hidden Hill Drive its owners intend to convert to storage, not tear down. This is not a “consolidation.” This is a big expansion. The company website says it is planning more growth. Where does this stop?
Mincey Marble’s expansion will straddle Browns Bridge Road, a road scheduled to be widened to four lanes in 2030-2050. Think ahead: A four-lane highway between two heavy industrial plants with minimum setback from the road. The Georgia Department of Transportation may accommodate Mincey Marble and reroute the road to the north of its plant. That would take out houses and move the four-lane road deeper into a residential area.
Mincey Marble releases 58 tons of styrene a year, more than a ton a week. Their limit is 100 tons a year. The new plant is a separate facility. The owners may request another 100-ton allowance for that plant, doubling the allowed emissions. Styrene is the hardening chemical in two-part epoxy glue. The warnings on the package tell you it is a hazardous material. Our kids shouldn’t have to breathe that every day.
Mincey Marble owners claim to pay “over $100,000 in annual local taxes.” There are 16 residential properties on our street. We pay a total of over $75,000 in property taxes annually. There are 950 homes within a one-mile radius of the plant. These residents spent $53.2 million in Hall County on goods and services in 2015. The residents’ quality of life and property values should not be downgraded for Mincey Marble’s convenience.
Mincey should have planned ahead and moved to an industrial zone years ago. Instead, its owners have skirted zoning laws and building codes time and again to build on the cheap. Commissioners are well aware of Mincey’s record.
You may say, “So what? That’s not near me.” But what if someone sees a “need” to put in a small manufacturing business on an empty lot near you? Commissioners decide if there is a “need” to exempt zoning laws.
More than 600 residents have signed a petition asking the Board of Commissioners to deny this rezoning. Voters are watching to see if they listen to their constituents.
Mincey has hired a public relations firm and is doing an effective job of telling a benign story. Every business has a reason for what it wants to do. Usually, the bottom line is it just doesn’t want to spend any extra money.
Milton Lea Williams, Claudia Williams