UPDATE: SE Asphalt Withdraws Application… AGAIN

A previously withdrawn conditional rezoning application #R-2020-03-C submitted on May 1,2020 by Jeff Shipman on behalf of SE Asphalt has been resubmitted on February 19, 2021 as application #R-2021-01-C on behalf of HS Shipman LLC, which requests Henderson County conditionally rezone a 6.5 acre portion of land to a conditional district to construct a new hot mix asphalt drum plant located off Spartanburg Hwy (US 176) in East Flat Rock, North Carolina.

Asphalt drum plants continuously mix aggregate and liquid asphalt with no interruption in the production process and can manufacture asphalt at a high rate. According to SE Asphalt, the production capacity of the proposed plant will be 200 tons per hour.

Conditional Districts allow for the Board of Commissioners to place conditions on the property to address community concerns and make the proposed development compatible with adjacent uses.


Zoning Agreement
The property is currently zoned Community Commercial, which allows for residential and commercial uses, such as office buildings and retail sales and services. By right, asphalt plants are not currently permitted and special conditional rezoning must be obtained in order to build a heavy industrial plant in such close proximity to neighborhood homes, schools, and churches. Approving a rezoning application to change the zoning to allow for an industrial plant in a non-industrial zoned residential area sets a dangerous precedent that paves the way for other zoned areas to be changed at will.

Loss of Property Value
According to a market impact analysis report submitted as evidence by Brian Gulden, SE Asphalt’s own attorney, during a 2019 public hearing when he represented Sustainable Madison‘s opposition against a proposed asphalt plant in Madison County, property values of Henderson County homes within a 1-mile radius of the Rogers Group asphalt plant on Asheville Highway are down 23.96% compared to similar homes within the same zip code outside of that radius over the past 15 years. Another property value study conducted by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) documented losses of up to 56% because of the presence of a nearby asphalt plant. Read the BREDL study documenting property value losses over half a mile away from an asphalt plant in Pineola, North Carolina.

Known Toxins
Asphalt fumes are known toxins. Asphalt processing facilities are major sources of hazardous air pollutants such as formaldehyde, hexane, phenol, polycyclic organic matter, and toluene. Exposure to these air toxics may cause cancer, central nervous system problems, liver damage, respiratory problems, and skin irritation. Read this EPA Emissions Assessment Report on Hot Mix Asphalt Plants.

Health Impacts
In another study by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), 45% of residents living within a half mile of a new asphalt plant reported a deterioration of their health, which began after the plant opened. Read the BREDL study conducted in the Bethel-Cullasaja community, the site of an asphalt plant permitted to produce 180 tons per hour of paving asphalt (slightly smaller than the proposed SE Asphalt plant).



Join the Friends of East Flat Rock Say No to Asphalt Plant Facebook group
Connect with other members of the East Flat Rock community.


Conditional Rezoning Application Process

Many concerned community members of East Flat Rock and the surrounding communities in Henderson County have asked about the approval process and its timeline. This chart shows each step in the process with a brief explanation of what happens during this process. This process is a legislative process and is decided by Henderson County’s 5 elected Board of Commissioners (J. Michael Edney, William Lapsley, Rebecca McCall, Daniel Andreotta, and David Hill).

It’s important that our community work together, make our voices heard, and stay involved in this process until the final decision is made.

Asphalt plant manufacturers, developers, and their attorneys bank on community apathy, fatigue, and running out of money. East Flat Rock will not be another notch in their belt.

If you’re unsure of what actions to take or need guidance on what to do during this process, please refer to our recommended steps on what you can do right now. These steps will be updated as we move through the process together.



Stay updated on the current status, next actions to take, and more.

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    (Drone footage provided by Sarah Ruhlen)


    “As Green Riverkeeper with MountainTrue, I stand firmly opposed to the asphalt plant proposed for East Flat Rock. We know from experience that these operations are pollution factories that spew toxic gasses into the air, foul waterways, and threaten the health of local communities. Nobody wants this, and the County’s own zoning ordinance prohibits development of an asphalt plant here, so we are calling on County leaders to stand by the existing development rules and deny the request to rezone the property in question.”

    Gray Jernigan, Southern Regional Director, MountainTrue

    “East Flat Rock residents organizing to fight a proposed asphalt plant say Henderson County should do more to notify neighbors of plans for polluting industries. They’re right.

    Jennifer Heaslip, Managing Editor, Times-News
    Liquidlogic Kayaks

    “We employ 60 people in our Henderson County manufacturing facility. Many of our employees are outdoors-people and took jobs with us because of the great paddling, mountain biking, hiking, and wilderness recreational opportunities here. If this goes through, I won’t want to live, recreate, or work here.”

    Shane Benedict, Co-Founder, Liquidlogic Kayaks
    Pro Painting and Drywall

    “This asphalt plant will hurt our air quality and deter people from visiting and moving here. I vehemently oppose the rezoning for the purpose of this construction.”

    Carlos Vigil, Owner, Pro Painting and Drywall
    Highland Lake Inn & Resort

    “If there has to be another asphalt plant, it should be built somewhere further away from populated areas already zoned for that type of use.

    I know there are regulations that must be followed to try to minimize air and water contaminants, but I worry about what happens when things don’t go right. That happens far too often and we have too many necessary clean-ups of previously regulated sites already.”

    Jack Grup, Owner, Highland Lake Inn & Resort
    Historic Flat Rock Inc.

    “As an organization that protects and preserves historic and cultural sites, Historic Flat Rock, Inc. opposes the building of the SE Asphalt Plant in East Flat Rock.

    Victoria Flanagan & Missy Schenck, Historic Flat Rock, Inc.
    Statonwoods Homeowners Association

    “Please advise the Board of Commissioners to reject the rezoning application. Please protect the citizens and natural resources of our county.”

    Heather Bryant, President, Statonwoods Homeowners Association

    “If this is rezoned, what’s to stop other industrial businesses from doing the same thing in any area they want to have rezoned? Pandora’s Box will be opened. That means zoning codes is futile and no community is safe. Say NO to SE Asphalt.”

    Terry Bozon, Owner, ISharpenIt Sharpening Service

    The proposed site of this asphalt drum plant (outlined in red) is on the northeast corner of Highway 176 and US Highway 25 (Exit 7 on Highway 25), within one mile of hundreds of single family homes, small farms, the Green River Game Lands, and the Eastern Continental Divide. The headwaters of Laurel Creek, which feeds into the Green River gorge, is less than 300 feet from the proposed site.

    Proposed site for asphalt drum plant planned in East Flat Rock, NC