Lehman-Roberts undecided about plans for asphalt plant in New Albany

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

NEW ALBANY – Officials of a Memphis-based company are considering their options after losing a fight in Circuit Court and at City Hall to secure the zoning necessary to build an asphalt plant on Munsford Drive.
Lehman Roberts Co. had bought a 29-acre site from Riverside Traffic Solutions with the understanding from the city that it was zoned industrial. Opponents, however, contended that a zoning change from agricultural to industrial had been done illegally.
They won their case – first in Circuit Court and then in a 3-2 vote by the New Albany Board of Aldermen to keep the agricultural zoning.
“We are still considering our options,” said David Green, Lehman-Roberts Co.’s north Mississippi director of operations. “We have not decided what we will do next” regarding a New Albany location.
Lehman-Roberts has fulfilled two recent paving contracts on U.S. Highway 78 and has a current paving project in front of the Toyota plant at Blue Springs. The company could also be in contention for additional paving projects as Highway 78 is upgraded for its eventual conversion to Interstate 22.
“We sure hope so,” Green said.
Having an asphalt plant in New Albany would save Lehman-Roberts trucks more than 60 miles per trip over the Oxford location, the company’s closest current plant.
Only a few businesses are sprinkled along Munsford Drive. Most of the rest of the land along the four-lane road is woods or fields. The thoroughfare funnels hundreds of trucks daily between Highway 78 West and Miss. Highway 30 West, away from the 78/30 interchange that serves the hospital, the Sportsplex and the city’s busiest commercial area.
Booker Farr, whose Riverside Traffic Solutions sold the land contingent on proper zoning for the plant, could not be reached for comment.
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.