A Maury County commissioner has led a failed push to rescind the commission’s decision to rezone a plot of land previously occupied by the Monsanto Company for residential advancement.
Commissioner Sue Stephenson claims 75 acres of the land in question is also hazardous for development due to possible chemical waste left underground decades back by the American agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology company.
All through a county administration committee conference Tuesday, Stephenson launched a resolution to undo the county’s decision to rezone roughly 75.23-acres of the assets, at this time remaining applied as farmland, found near Parsons Bend Highway at Monsanto Road from M-2 (Major Industrial) District to A-2 (Rural Residential) District.
“This is public health and fitness and safety challenge,” Stephenson mentioned. “I have spoken to folks at that assets, and they say it (hazardous squander) is buried all around the home, not just the Superfund site. That stuff is all over that property.”
Stephenson’s motion failed right before the Maury County Administration Committee, 2-2, with Eric Previti and Connie Environmentally friendly voting in opposition of the resolution and Stephenson and Debbie Turner voting in favor, ending Stephenson’s approach to have the total fee rethink the choice.
Committee member Linda Whiteside abstained from the vote.
Pursuing the unsuccessful motion, Stephenson explained to The Day-to-day Herald that she will continue pursuing other choices in an work to safeguard the area from disturbance.
Before the conference was underway, Previti termed to clear away the merchandise from the meeting’s agenda on Tuesday evening.
“It won’t be able to be performed,” Previti said. “The comprehensive commission has now read it. It is a accomplished offer.”
During a short dialogue of the movement, Scott Sumners also shared his aid of chopping Stephenson’s proposal from the assembly.
“We presently have a precedent on this,” Sumners stated, citing the govt has beforehand voted to rezone extra than 800 acres to residential zoning in latest decades.
“We have previously done it to nearly 1,000 acres out there.”
The land is positioned northwest of Columbia alongside the banking companies of the Duck River in between the communities of Santa Fe, Williamsport and Athendale. The region is property to numerous solitary family members residences surrounded by land that carries on to be farmed.
The Maury County Gun Club also operates a taking pictures range in the space.
Previti’s motion unsuccessful ahead of the committee with Previti and Environmentally friendly voting to eliminate the merchandise even though Stephenson, Turner and Whiteside voted in opposition, keeping the product on the agenda for total dialogue.
“This is a moot issue,” Previti explained as dialogue commenced on Stephenson’s resolution Tuesday.
Stephenson claimed the house is underneath restrictions established in location by the Tennessee Division of Environmental Conservation.
Maury County Lawyer Daniel Murphy verified that there are some limits on the assets.
“There are regions on the home the place you can’t make,” Murphy stated. “This is the oddest zoning I have at any time noticed. This commission has presently acted. You are downgrading the zoning exactly where there is significantly less activity that would be there. If the restrictions apply, they are in area.”
In a June 21 letter to Stephenson, Ken Johnson, Center Tennessee Regional Manager of TDEC Division of Remediation, said restrictions condition that prior to the design of residential, childcare, school or church buildings, the residence proprietor will have to notify TDEC that the home is protected and obtain acceptance, which is to be submitted with the Maury County Sign up of Deeds.
Stephenson explained preserving the residence zoned industrial would keep residential growth off the home.
“We are right here to protect them and their children and the long term of their youngsters,” Stephenson explained. “This is a public health and protection problem. Now we are going to have thousands of people today going here and some of them may well acquire loads out there and make out there.”
Whiteside shared worry for the high quality of the drinking water at the area.
“I just never believe in these chemical crops and that they did not bury things all over the place,” Whiteside reported.
Maury County Commissioner Don Morrow claimed the county must make selections dependent on specifics and not “hearsay,” responding to worries shared by Stephenson, who explained she experienced thoroughly researched the make a difference in current weeks and contacted representatives of TDEC.
Tuner said that the issue concerns the integrity of the local govt.
“I don’t want it to be on my conscience to know that we allowed people to go out and make out there as a lawful physique,” Turner mentioned.
Fee approved rezoning last month
Stephenson introduced the proposal to reconsider a 14-5 decision by the county commission to rezone section of the industrial area as residential.
Previti, Sumners, Don Morrow, Jordon Shaw, Kevin Markham, Terry Potts, Michelle Haney, Wayne Patterson, Larry Brown, David Mischke, Brian McKelvy and Craig Harris voted in acceptance of the resolution while Stephenson Green, Turner Ken Banking institutions, Talvin Barner, Tommy Wolaver and Gary Stovall voted against. Whiteside abstained.
Prior to the vote, Maury County Regional Planning Fee gave a favorable suggestion for the rezoning at its May possibly 24, 2021 assembly and public hearing .
Throughout the May fee conference, Stephenson reported approving the zoning modify could be the initially step in building household homes about one particular mile from a Superfund web page the place she says thousands of barrels of dangerous supplies, waste and gases are stored and buried.
She explained the plot of land, identified as currently being a part of County Tax Map 055 Parcel 17.00, rests atop two ponds and two landfills that have been closed and capped together with the banks of the Duck River.
“This is a web page in which the land has been undisturbed for many years for a reason,” Stephenson mentioned. “These 75-acres are fewer than a mile from the storage site of phosgene. There are drums and barrels of phosgene that are underneath the ground in a framework that nonetheless exists on the house. It is really harmful whether or not you contact it, ingest it or inhale it.”
The residence is owned by Richie and Deborah Keith under RDK Have confidence in. The rezoning adjust was filed by Kerry Harris, the lead agent of a Spring Hill true estate business, representing the two in the sale of the assets.
Harris, who attended the administration committee conference on Tuesday, declined to remark for this tale.
The resolution approving the rezoning, which handed all through the commission’s June conference, adopted a evaluation from Maury County Attorney Daniel Murphy who explained that he did not consider there were limitations placed on the specific parcel of assets that would preserve it from remaining rezoned as household.
“Regardless of what restrictions are on the residence does not have something to do with the zoning,” Murphy stated throughout the June conference.
Murphy said if the developer needs to build a residence or other composition on the site, he would have to pull a creating permit with the county’s office of building and zoning.
“It is across the road and up versus the river where the internet site was,” Murphy added. “That is up to the purchaser to discover as he is performing his research. That is his or her responsibility to search their title when they get it. Buyer beware.”
Other commissioners shared their support in rezoning the property throughout the June full commission assembly.
“We are downgrading from heavy industrial to rural residential, and I imagine that is possibly a superior point,” mentioned Scott Sumners.
Many others shared hesitations.
“If attributes are built out there and some thing negative comes about,” claimed Turner. “If a little something is buried underneath, I just want to make absolutely sure none of those people individuals are heading to be able to arrive back again on us as a county and maintain us liable for changing this zoning.”
Monsanto in Maury County
Monsanto started processing phosphate in Maury County in 1937. At its peak of procedure, the corporation employed extra than 800 people and processed 1.1 million tons of phosphate rock for every year to create 95,000 tons of phosphorus by way of open up pit mining.
The location, particularly southern Maury County, was at the time considered the phosphate cash of the entire world, but all phosphate operations ceased by 1989.
A 1996 environmental examine entitled, “Phosphate Mine Reclamation in Tennessee” by Ed Graffth and H.N. Lyles says the processed phosphate ore tailing ended up sent by a 4% clay slurry to 14 environment ponds up to 200-feet deep. The major of these ponds is almost 450 acres in size. In the ponds, the clay slurry settles above time as the h2o drains away. The ponds proved unstable and even risky if everyone walked on them.
To stabilize the ponds, the point out and Monsanto planted 3.5 million Cypress trees on the ponds. This intervention, according to the report, has stabilized the pond location and promises quite a few of the ponds have been turned into fishing and boating lakes. In modern a long time, Ducks Endless has joined the effort and hard work to make the region a natural habitat for ducks.
Ahead of Monsanto, the web page was a single of two locations in the country that manufactured phosgene gasoline applied by the U.S. in World War I. Phosgene has been claimed to be dependable for 85 p.c of the 100,000 fatalities caused by chemical weapons throughout the war.
The framework, in which 11,000 barrels of the gas was created, stays undisturbed on the residence.
In 2016, the county commission briefly considered the home as a prospective site for a new landfill for the region.
Stephenson spoke from the proposed landfill at the time due to considerations about stages of phosphorous.
“Everybody who I have talked to who labored out there claimed they would under no circumstances build a property out there — ever,” Stephenson said at the time. “They would never try to eat the fish from out there. Everyone I talked to explained they would in no way drink drinking water out of a nicely that is on that residence.”
Reach Mike Christen at [email protected] and adhere to him on Twitter at @MikeChristenCDH.