Clinton Residents Upset Over New Asphalt Plant

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Clinton (WVLT) - Opponents called it the proverbial David versus Goliath. This time, Goliath won.

Clinton City Council has paved the way for an asphalt plant to built near I-75. The council voted six to one to re-zone the land for heavy industry. The Rogers Company has tried to build the plant for a decade.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy was there when the vote was cast.

Words flew, tears fell, but in the end they couldn't convince council to keep this development out.

The sign in Suzie Scruggs' yard says it all.

"I feel betrayed," Scruggs said.

Just down the road from her Bethel Road home, Roger's Company plans to build an Asphalt Plant, Cement Plant, and Rock Quarry.

"I don't like the fact that I've got a grandson that's got a breathing problem. He can't play outside and he won't be able to," Scruggs said.

Scruggs worries about the noise, pollution, and traffic problems the development would bring.

"I guess you could say the buck stops here," city councilman Charles Lyons said.

Here at Monday night's Clinton City Council meeting. Scruggs and more than 120 other concerned citizens packed the room.

Folks in Anderson County are so upset about the idea of the asphalt plant, more showed up tonight than could fit inside. Some stood outside on the steps, others in the lobby. Many outside held the stop Rogers signs.

"We really were left out of the decision," Lyons said.

Anderson County refused to let Rogers build the plant for nearly a decade. So Rogers petitioned the city and homeowners voted to OK the city to annex the land. Monday, council re-zoned the site for Heavy Industry, paving the way for the asphalt plant.

"If they don't have the plant up here then they're going to hall that asphalt from Roger's in Oak Ridge. All the way through our city. And the emissions will be much greater," Lyons said.

But the community put up fight with strong words and tears and even song.

"We share the sames concerns. We ant our operations to run. We want to be friendly to both our neighbors and the environment," vice president of Rogers Group, Dave Rechter, said.

Neighbors like Scruggs hope they keep that promise.

At the meeting, every council member gave their reason for their vote. Overall, most in favor say the community's concerns weren't backed up with facts, and Rogers Company's plants in Oak Ridge have a proven track records for environmental safety.

Only council member Albert Turner voted no. He says that's because his allegiance to the community was just too strong.

Next, the company has to apply for multiple permits. That could take 8 to 12 months. So it could as long as a year before any actual work begins at the site.


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