BELLEVUE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A gem in the Bellevue community could be on the way to becoming a landfill.
The McCrory Lane Quarry is inactive, but over the years, it's naturally filled in with water and has been enjoyed by scuba divers and people in the area.
If House Bill 871 is passed in 2022, it would preempt local regulation on open pits and mines, and could determine the future of the quarry in Bellevue.
"Last year during the general assembly session, the owners had their lobbyists introduce a bill that would preempt all of the local regulation including the zoning that they themselves agreed to, so it's put us in a precarious position" said Metro Councilmember Dave Rosenberg, who represents parts of Bellevue in District 35. "You can make a lot of money on tipping fees, so it's really a cash grab. They want to take all the water dump it into the river, which will have an impact on the wildlife, quality of the river... they want to throw all of that aside, make the money and probably develop something on top of that."
He's stepping in before state lawmakers revisit the bill next spring.
If Nashville loses control, the owners of the McCrory Lane Quarry could go back on their promise to never fill the hole with waste.
"It's really frustrating to see this kind of backstabbing. There is really no place for it. There's no need for it," he said.
The councilmember says dump truck activity will pollute the area.
"You have a gorgeous state park across the street, the Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery which is a very peaceful place and very somber place, and having this kind of construction occurring, for years it would take them to fill the lake, would just be... it's just the wrong thing to do," he said.
Rosenberg looked at the legislation. He determined that rezoning the property is the only way to guarantee the quarry can't fill up with waste. He is proposing switching the agricultural zoning to residential, which would only allow the owners to build 12 homes on the land.
"We're going to pass base zoning that honors the spirit of what the owners of the land agreed to originally. It will allow them to still make great use of the land with large lot homes which is the most appropriate use of the land anyway," he said.
There will be public hearings about the plans. The first is September 23 at the Metro Planning Commission. The second is at Metro Council on October 5.
Crom Carmichael, one of the partners in the quarry project, responded to our requests for comment late Tuesday. "We are not trying to do a landfill. We are simply trying to reclaim the quarry by filling it with clean rock and dirt," Carmichael said via phone.
"One of the most important reasons is because a 13-year-old drowned in that quarry... it is a public nuisance." Carmichael said people are known to go swimming there despite "danger" and "no trespassing" signs up on the property.