Proposed rock quarry in Trousdale County causes controversy

Proposed rock quarry
Posted at 6:07 PM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 07:26:41-04

HARTSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A proposed rock quarry is brewing quite a quarrel in a small Tennessee town.

If you drive down the highway into Trousdale County from Wilson County, you will see several 'no quarry' signs.

"An already dangerous 231, they’ll be adding rock-loaded dump trucks to this road," Neighbor Becky Johnson said. "That’s obviously another huge issue for everyone that will affect many people not just our own community."

She’s also worried about debris known as "fly rock" because her children like to play outside.

"Dust is a concern, but that’s nothing compared to the safety issues,” Johnson said. “These big companies can have safety precautions and they can take as many measures as they want to, and you can sign away something for insurance that they’ll guarantee this and they’ll guarantee that, but nothing can guarantee the safety of my children except for them to stop it and not have that quarry put in right in my backyard."

There's also a wildlife refuge and Kelley's Berry Farm nearby.

"We got two wells that we pump out of, so I don’t know what it will do to the water,” said homeowner John Kelley.

Kelley fears a quarry could hurt his crop. Families have flocked to the farm for the you-pick season for 40 years.

"On the blueberries, the lime dust — that brings the pH up, and the blueberries like an acidic soil, so they need the pH to be low, so I don’t know if the dust would fly that much or not, but it could be a problem," Kelley said.

According to Hunters Point Quarry, LLC’s website, rock is needed to improve infrastructure. In addition, they hope to bring high-paying jobs.

They issued a statement:

"We are confident that our proposed operations will not cause any harm to our neighbors and, instead, will provide great economic benefit to Trousdale County and its citizens. We look forward to having the chance to prove that in our operations every day. As to concerns expressed by some of our neighbors, we do not anticipate fly rock will be of any danger to our neighbors. We use the most advanced electronically-controlled blasting techniques in the industry, which will be conducted by licensed professionals and monitored via a State-issued permit. In addition, we have voluntarily planned operations that well exceed the County’s minimum setback requirements for our proposed operations. Any dust attendant to the operations will be controlled by misters, water trucks, on-site speed limits, and other industry-established best practices. As to traffic, before making our application for this project, we engaged a highly-respected, local third-party planning and engineering design consultant to perform a traffic impact study to analyze and identify any modifications that will need to be addressed due to additional traffic connected with our operations—which will also benefit the current site conditions and surrounding area.

"They tried to call me on the phone. I said it doesn’t matter what you say, I still don’t like it," Kelley said.

The land is currently zoned for agriculture, so there's a meeting on June 22 at 6 p.m. regarding mining.

Then, on July 11at 7 p.m., the planning commission will meet to talk about the quarry again. In the first meeting, there were heated moments.