Rock quarry case dismissed

Rashad Milligan/Douglas County Sentinel

A sign on Rose Avenue reads "No Rock Quarry." Signs like this one are on lawns around the city showing opposition to a proposed quarry west of downtown Douglasville. The city council voted against allowing the quarry earlier this year. A lawsuit filed by the developer and property owner against the city challenging the council's decision was dismissed Nov. 9.

Douglasville Chief Assistant City Attorney Suzan Littlefield announced at Thursday night's city council meeting that rock quarry developer Bart Boyd and property owner Johnny Blankenship voluntarily dismissed their case against the city of Douglasville.

The two plaintiffs sued the city after the council unanimously voted to deny a zoning request to allow the quarry along West Strickland Street earlier this year. Since the case was dismissed without prejudice, it can be refiled within the next six months or the plaintiffs can petition to rezone at any time.

"We don't know the reason, we can speculate, but they did not tell us why they dismissed," Littlefield said at the meeting.

Court documents show the case was dismissed Nov. 9, but no further information was included in the documents.

County citizens joined the city's side of the lawsuit in September after a hearing. One member of the Concerned Citizens of Douglas County, LLC., John Foran, said he was glad to see the case dismissed.

"I would say that it's a victory for everybody in Douglas County," Foran said. "We still have the opportunity to develop that property and I would like to see it develop for all the citizens of Douglas County as a green space on the north side of the county."

Attorney Matt Reeves, who represented Boyd and Blankenship, did not respond to the Sentinel's attempts to contact him on Friday afternoon.

When he originally presented the zoning request to the council to bring in a quarry, Boyd, from Georgia Stone Products, LLC, said that $44 million would be invested into Douglasville and 30 to 35 permanent jobs would be created with the quarry.

A group of concerned citizens began to campaign against the rock quarry coming into the area. The initial resistance to the quarry included yards filled with red "No Rock Quarry" signs and citizens who showed up wearing white T-shirts with "No Quarry" printed on them at council meetings. Full-page ads were taken out in the Sentinel, flyers were handed out and residents were urged to call city council members to voice their concerns.

The group of citizens against the quarry cited hazardous conditions to the environment, foundational home damage and shaking caused by the operation as reasons to not support the quarry.

The plaintiffs argued, however, that the case wasn't about public opinion but rather the property owner's rights.

"Judge, this case is and should be about Johnny Blankenship's private property rights," Reeves told Judge William "Beau" McClain at a hearing over the summer.

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