With a packed audience watching, the Boone County Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-3 Thursday night to reject a proposal by APAC to build a temporary, portable asphalt plant in Hartsburg along U.S. 63.
The asphalt plant would have been built on 100 acres in Hartsburg, which is 20 miles south of Columbia, and was designed to meet the construction needs on U.S. 63 between Columbia and Jefferson City.
Close to a dozen neighbors spoke against the plan, many posing direct questions to the APAC representatives and making personal appeals to the commissioners.
“We are Boone County constituents, and we would like you to represent our interests,” said Greg Bradley, who lives directly south of the proposed site. Others said the plant would interfere with the quiet life they desired.
Concerns over health
There were also many concerns expressed by county residents over health issues associated with a nearby asphalt plant, including several senior citizens who said the plant would present significant respiratory problems.
But the three APAC spokesmen present at the meeting argued that the company used safer standards than those required of them, including those involving noise, odor and pollution.
“I understand that your homes are right around the plant,” APAC spokesman Brent Geger said at the meeting. “But I wanted to touch on the fact that APAC is taking every consideration to make sure this is an environmentally friendly operation and operates in compliance with all environmental standards.”
The location was also selected to minimize cost, APAC spokeswoman Debra Galloway said earlier Thursday. “And it’s not just cost to us, it’s cost to the taxpayer,” she said.
A common concern with asphalt plants is the odor released, often impacting adjacent communities.
“I just saw a study from the National Asphalt Paving Association. and it showed you get more emissions from two weeks of a commercial bakery than a year of an asphalt plant,” Galloway said.
In the end, however, the commissioners voted down the proposal in response to those who lived in surrounding homes.
“Clearly an asphalt plant is not compatible with a residential area,” Commissioner Carl Freiling said.
In an interview after the vote, Geger said APAC would probably begin searching for a new site for the plant.
“We’re unsure of our next course of action,” Geger said, adding that he was surprised that the plan was rejected.
In other business, the commission also rejected a request by Cingular Wireless to build a cell-phone tower on 115 acres of land located at 1111 E. Oakland Church Road. The tower would have been 300 feet from a neighbor’s house, which the commission said was too close.