A previously withdrawn conditional rezoning application #R-2020-03-C submitted on May 1,2020 by Jeff Shipman on behalf of SE Asphalt has been resubmitted on February 19, 2021 as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.
REASONS FOR CONCERN:
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.
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.
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).
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:
Attend Henderson County’s Planning Board Meeting Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 5:30 pm
This meeting is open to the public and will take place IN PERSON at the East Henderson High School Auditorium at 150 Eagle Pride Dr, East Flat Rock, NC 28726. NOTE: THIS VENUE HAS CHANGED TO Blue Ridge Community College Thomas Auditorium, 180 W Campus Drive, Flat Rock, NC 28731. The Planning Board does not approve or deny the rezoning application. They will make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners who have the final approval or denial authority.
DONATE! Round two fundraising is underway to oppose SE Asphalt’s reapplication!
Your donation will help pay for legal counsel, public awareness (like signs, billboards, radio ads, etc.), and for any experts we may need to tell the Planning Board and the Board of Commissioners that building an asphalt plant in our East Flat Rock community is bad for our residents, bad for our businesses, and bad for the county. (And because you can bet SE Asphalt will have their own “experts” telling us how great it will be to live next door to an asphalt plant).
💥 Lakemont Cottages is matching the first $12,000 in donations received between now and April 15! 💥
Donations are tax deductible.