CLAY, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE: According to Clay Mayor Charles Webster, the land owner and interested developer will delay holding a public hearing until a larger venue can be secured for the expected outcome.
ORIGINAL: Neighbors in the city of Clay are pushing back on plans for a rock quarry that would require city leaders to annex and rezone a property that is currently in Jefferson County.
According to Clay Mayor Charles Webster, Vulcan Materials is interested in the property.
“They say that there is 50 years of stone in that area that they could mine out as far as getting the rock out of it, it is basically right where the freeway is coming through,” Webster said.
Webster told CBS 42 a landowner offered to allow the city of Clay to annex the property.
“He wanted to put a stipulation on it that if he doesn’t annex it in and we refuse to change the zoning that it would actually revert back to Jefferson County,” said Webster.
The property is currently not zoned to allow a quarry.
Webster explained that city leaders will learn more about any potential benefits during a public hearing at the Clay Planning and Zoning meeting Thursday.
“We are going to find out Thursday night what that revenue will be. Is it going to be beneficial to the city to pursue this? It might not be,” said Webster.
The city council will need to vote on the recommendations made by the planning and zoning commission.
Several neighbors in Clay have started discussing the plan on social media. Many are not in favor of the possible operation.
“We moved out here because it was peaceful and quiet and the construction noise would be a real problem, a real detriment to living out here,” said Emily Stauss.
Stauss is among the neighbors that got a notice about the public hearing this week, but there is no mention of the rock quarry.
“I think they tried to deceive people by not putting on the notice that it was for a rock quarry,” said Billy Buckner, who lives near the property.
Aside from noise concerns, Buckner worries about the impact on the environment. He also wonders about the safety of trucks hauling material along Clay-Palmerdale Road.
Most importantly, Buckner is considering his family’s health.
“My wife is on chemo. We are going to get more of this dust than anybody. She doesn’t need it. I don’t see the money being worth what it is going to do this community,” said Buckner.
Buckner and Stauss plan to be at Thursday’s meeting to learn more and share concerns.
“We need everyone’s help to come and fight this if you don’t want a quarry,” said Stauss.
City leaders expect a large turnout during the public hearing.
“Nothing has been done in secret. This is basically what you would do on any annexation or any rezoning. That is why you have a public hearing,” said Webster.
Webster said city hall could accommodate around 50 people, but added that social distancing will also be enforced.
Despite the outcome in Clay, Stauss worries there will be future battles over zoning since the property lies in Jefferson County.
“We fully expect the property owner and the mining company to approach Jefferson County and try to just rezone it there and we are going to have to fight the county over it, so this is not over on Thursday,” said Stuass.
Stauss and her family recently moved to the area and said they might consider leaving if the quarry is built.
CBS 42 reached out to Vulcan Materials for details about the plan, but did not receive a response.
For those interested in learning more, the public hearing is set for Thursday October 15 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be at Clay City Hall at 2441 Old Springville Road.
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