The Douglasville City Council voted to “take no action” during last Monday’s regular session pertaining to an ordinance to impose restrictions on special land uses in the IH (Heavy Industrial) District with regard to quarries and mining operations.
The council presented an ordinance and an alternate at their June 4 meeting agenda, tabled from the May 21 regular session.
But the council took no action on either of those.
Councilman Mark Adams, who spoke by phone following the meeting, said upon review of the ordinances, there was no timeline on ordinance revisions and that the current ordinances may remain as written.
Adams said that the whole process for revising the ordinance would have to be re-started and re-advertised, if and before anything else could happen.
During the May 21 meeting, after some citizen concerns were raised previously over a proposed rock quarry, some legal wrangling and a revised request from the developer to approve a development plan for a "portable rock crushing plant" on some of the same land, the council voted 4-3 against approval.
The plan, presented by developer Bart Boyd of Kennesaw, would entail putting two grinders and a 400-square-foot building on 10 acres of a 152-acre site along West Strickland Street at South Flatrock Road.
Boyd told the council previously that “earthen materials” such as clay, dirt, stone, that type of material” would be transported to the plant and manufactured into a “construction fill type of product” before being transported off site.
Curtis Shipley, heading up the opposition to the plan, cited Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code 32 and told the council it doesn’t allow a mining operation, which he contended the rock crushing plant would be even if the material is not mined directly on site. He told the council that according to the code “crushing and breaking of stone and the crushing and grinding or otherwise preparing sand, gravel and non-metallic chemical and fertilizer minerals other than barite are defined as mining.”
Councilman Adams, who chairs the planning and development committee overseeing the project, made the initial motion to deny approving the plan, saying "I must vote my conscience here folks."
Councilmembers Terry Miller, Sam Davis and LaShun Burr Danley also voted to deny the development plan.
Council members Mike Miller and Chris Watts and Mayor Pro Tem Richard Segal voted to approve the development plan.
Aaron Ruffin, interim community development director, responded to an email request following the council’s vote for an update on the disposition of the plan, saying,
“The city does not have any active applications for a rock quarry/rock grinding facility.”
Atlanta land use attorney Doug Dillard told the council at last week’s meeting that Boyd’s lawsuit was “being re-filed.”
Boyd had initially proposed building a rock quarry west of downtown Douglasville last year. He had filed and then withdrawn a lawsuit during that process of revising his request for a rock crushing plant.
Dillard told the council that “...the rejection of the Special Land Use Permit, the delay in informing him of the rejection and the simultaneous passage of a moratorium, immediately followed by an ordinance that virtually eliminates quarries as a permitted use while the moratorium is still in place, in our opinion was malicious."
Dillard told the council they had exceeded their authority as elected officials, but added that leaving the ordinance as is was hopeful.
“I appreciate your recognizing the seriousness of this ... and not having taken an action on the ordinance is encouraging to us, and we will make ourselves available to help find some resolution, otherwise I think you may have some exposure,” Dillard said.