New Albany rejects plans for asphalt plant

NEW ALBANY – A zoning dispute that has dragged on for more than a year appears to be a dead issue.
After repeated hearings and court action over the desirability, and legality, of rezoning property off Munsford Drive for location of an asphalt plant, aldermen voted down the request Monday.
The vote came after a public hearing at the civic center that lasted nearly 41/2 hours.
Some New Albany citizens testified but most of the time was devoted to the opposing paid consultants from the Oxford area, one pointing out all the possible good about the change and the other pointing out all the bad.
Finally, after the court-like presentation, Alderman Larry Sanford moved that the recommendation by the planning and zoning board to change the property from A-1 agricultural to I industrial be approved.
Alderman Bill Tucker seconded the motion, but the motion failed by a 3-2 vote with Aldermen Tommie Beasley, Jeff Olson and Dan Skinner opposing the change.
Unless property owner Booker Farr challenges Monday’s decision in court, the issue is dead.
The controversy began after it became known that Farr was negotiating with Lehman-Roberts Asphalt Co. of Memphis to build an asphalt plant at 1305 Munsford Drive, adjacent to an extant plant owned by Grisham Asphalt and Paving.
Some property owners in the area were opposed to the new plant, although some apparently were not aware a plant already was there.
The opponents organized and obtained representation with Bill Rutledge.
They have since argued that the zoning change from agricultural to industrial more than 12 years ago was invalid and have since claimed other procedural errors as well as the general undesirability of having such a plant in that particular area.

Lynn West/New Albany News-Exchange