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Neighbors are fed up with a rock quarry they say is operating illegally in a residential area

Rock Quarry
Posted at 5:45 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 22:15:41-05

ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Neighbors think a rock quarry is operating illegally in their backyard, but the company believes it is on private property and has the right to operate.

According to Walker Trucking & Excavating signs, there's a quarry on Highway 12 in Ashland City which is close to a residential street. "When they do the blasting, my house shakes," said Zada Law.

Law and Dr. Yasmine Ali said nearby residents are at a breaking point. "The noise routinely hits decibel levels that are in the high to mid 80's, so it's louder than the ground noise from the U.S. Navy Growler Jet," Dr. Ali said, "I mean I have neighbors who are stuffing pillows into their windows to try to get relief from this noise."

Neighbor Keith Sturges said the quarry is in a residential zone. Walker Trucking & Excavating tried to get the zoning changed to industrial, but it was shot down.

"If your ordinance says that you’re not supposed to be having a mining operation, then stop it," said Sturges.

Sturges said their concerns seem to fall on deaf ears, "And there’s total silence from City Hall," said Sturges.

NewsChannel 5 reached out to the Ashland City Mayor regarding the zoning situation and did not hear back by the time this story aired.

Bryan Lewis, the attorney that represents Walker Trucking & Excavating, said they're doing everything right. "We have all necessary permits to do what we’re doing, and we’re extremely sorry if we upset some neighbors, and we would like to try to work a solution where we can continue doing what we’re doing, and accommodate the neighbors," Lewis said.

However, that might not be true. According to a Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation spokesperson, if they're processing rock, the company should have a water quality permit. They plan to alert the owner about the issue since they don't have one. Law said, "Residential zoning does not allow mining in Ashland City. Secondly, if he has state permits, state permits do not supersede local zoning regulations."

Neighbors are left wondering if the quarry is operating illegally. Law said, "The Mayor and City Council should be able to do what’s right."

According to the meeting minutes in Ashland City, there's a neighbor who reported a rock went into his home from the site.

City Council meeting minutes
An excerpt from Ashland City Council meeting.

The company’s attorney said Rock Solutions LLC, who did the blasting, would be responsible for that. Lewis said, “They’re professionals they know how to do this, they’re permitted, and they’ve been trained to do that, and if that did happen, which I have seen no proof of, and I’m not saying it did not happen, but Rock Solutions would need to make that right from our part.”

A representative with Rock Solutions LLC out of Kentucky had no comment.