Neighbors Fear Pollutants, Congestion From Distillery Plan

Posted at 7:07 PM, Oct 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-09 20:19:47-04

A spirited debate began in Murfreesboro when neighbors on Honeybee Drive received a letter indicating a liquor distillery may be coming adjacent to the subdivision.

Sazerac Company scouted a site off of Asbury Road just east of I-24 and brought an early plan to the city last Wednesday. Residents were shown a site plan that included silos, parking lots and the distillery itself, according to Heather Cadenhead. 

Cadenhead's home sits just adjacent to the property. She's worried her young autistic son, Milo, will have adverse reactions to pollution, light and noise from the distillery.

"Whenever I hear about ethanol vapors and when Sazerac stands up in their meetings and they admit that trees on their properties have turned black from the ethanol vapors," said Cadenhead. "I get concerned because he is super sensitive to things like mold and fungus."

Sharing in Cadenhead's concerns is Rick Matties, who lives right down the street.

"The concerns are that the whiskey fungus will transfer over to our property. With the health and property damage, we are very concerned," said Matties outside of the site's location at 5295 Asbury Road. "We would like to see this project denied. It doesn't belong in a residential neighborhood. Any distilleries I've been around have been in rural areas and not this close to people."

According to Murfreesboro Councilman Eddie Smotherman, Sazerac would have to apply for a zoning change. The land is currently zoned residential, the company has let residents who live nearby know they are trying to rezone the land to Planned Unit Development. No paperwork has been submitted to the Murfreesboro planning department.

There is one neighbor who isn't opposed to the development. Jeff Dismukes has farm land that's also adjacent to the property. He says you can't stop growth, and the current owner of the land has been trying to sell for 10 years.

"People move into this neighborhood thinking nothing else is coming into this neighborhood," said Dismukes. "That subdivision has been there less than two years. They move in here and they want to tell somebody else what they want to do with their property."