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Trade resident urges citizens to fight against asphalt plant

Dear Editor:
Somehow the issue of placement and operation of the hot mix asphalt plant in Trade has been converted into a discussion on zoning or job creation. The county government has failed to make any motion aimed at a moratorium on the asphalt plant.
A similar event took place in Ashe County NC in 1999. Tri County Paving Co. (TCPC) wanted to set up a hot mix asphalt plant and had applied for the permits from the North Carolina Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR).  Ashe County would not issue a building permit to TCPC, called for a moratorium on further work at the site and passed a Polluting Industries Development Ordinance (PIDO).  Tri County Paving litigated against Ashe County. Tri County Paving Co. lost the initial litigation and the appeal.
Ashe County does not have zoning but they do have a Polluting Industries Development Ordinance (PIDO). The purpose of the ordinance is to protect the public health, safety, general welfare, and property values of the citizens from potential adverse effects caused by certain industries. As an example, this protection is accomplished by requiring these types of industries to locate within specified minimum distances from existing structures like churches, schools, residences, fire departments and health care facilities.  
“For the purpose of promoting health, safety, and general welfare of its citizens and the peace and dignity of the county, the County Commissioners hereby establish certain criteria relating to polluting industries to accommodate activities as defined herein. Polluting industries, by their very nature produce objectionable levels of noise, odors, vibrations, fumes, light, or smoke that may or may not have hazardous effects. These standards shall allow for the placement and growth of polluting industrial activities, while maintaining the health, safety and general welfare standards of established residential and commercial areas in the County.”
These issues will continue to arise as long as Johnson County is the only county around with no oversight in place. Existing industries of this type would be “grandfathered” in. They are already being regulated by TDEC.
In conclusion the placement of a hot mix asphalt plant in Trade is not about zoning or job creation, it is a Health, Safety and Welfare issue. The State of Tennessee empowers its Counties to Educate, Police and to protect the Health, Safety and Welfare of its citizens.
Our County government is tasked with and empowered to protect us.

John P. (Jay) Jackson
Trade, TN