Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Plans to Move Plant No Comfort to Residents; Unhappy Neighbors to Protest to Clay Planning Commission

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Plans to Move Plant No Comfort to Residents; Unhappy Neighbors to Protest to Clay Planning Commission

Article excerpt

Byline: Teresa Stepzinski

GREEN COVE SPRINGS | In deference to neighbors' concerns, the site of a proposed asphalt plant in Clay County is being moved to put more distance between it and homes.

Neighbors, however, remain resolute in opposition to the plant. They will be protesting it to the county Planning Commission, which takes up the issue at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Gustafson's Cattle Inc. is asking the county to rezone about 65 acres of its property to allow an asphalt plant plus an aggregate storage and distribution facility. If approved, it would be built on the eastern portion of Gustafson's property, which is west of U.S. 17 at the intersection of the main CSX railroad line and the future First Coast Outer Beltway.

The site is about 4,000 feet away from any residential areas. Nearby businesses include a cement batch plant and a trucking terminal. Access would be from Clay County Road 15-A, said Thomas Ingram, a Jacksonville attorney representing the company.

County planning and zoning staff are recommending approval subject to several conditions. Those include additional access road paving, site lighting and landscaping to create a better buffer between the plant and its neighbors.

Ingram said the new site was selected after the company held a community meeting April 16 attended by about 25 residents. The company also considered concerns and objections from residents to the company's original proposal.

Initially, the company asked the county to rezone 92 acres of Gustafson's property between County Road 15-A and U.S. 17 to heavy industrial for the plant. But in February, the company withdrew that plan following an outcry from neighbors worried about potential air pollution including foul odors, traffic congestion, noise and a negative impact on their property values.

"Gustafson's wants to be a good neighbor. ... We have listened to residents' concerns and taken steps to minimize any potential impact of the plant on them," Ingram said of the new site, which is on the opposite side of the property from the original one.

That's still too close for comfort, some neighbors said. …

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