Plans to build a concrete recycling plant in Titusville are pending environmental review.
The proposed plant faced a major pushback from citizens at a recent city council meeting, with many citing concerns about noise and pollution as a reason for rejecting the project.
Business owners of Ohio-based Independence Recycling who hope to build the plant near Space Coast Regional Airport and US 1 said they have plans to mitigate any pollution and that the industrial zone had similar factories operating without major problems.
The council voted April 12 to send the project to the Titusville Environmental Commission for review to study before any final decisions are made.
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Titusville council member Jo Lynn Nelson said she understands and shares many people’s concerns about the plant, but reminded people that there is a legal protocol to stop the project, which is legally allowed to operate in the field.
“We were all concerned about noise, dust, potential pollution and the impact on our aquifer and the Indian River. However, to refuse, we must have a legally valid reason. Just saying ‘no’ won’t be enough,” Nelson said.
“I have nothing against your business. I have concerns about location with everything we’re trying to do in this area so close to the river,” Mayor Dan Diesel said, echoing the concerns of many citizens and of the Council.
What will the concrete batching plant actually do?
John Zemball, a project engineer, explained the details of the project to the Council, saying the company, Independence Recycling, will only crush concrete at the plant a few times a year.
The site is zoned industrial and will largely be used to store concrete until he has accumulated enough to process it, Zemball said.
He acknowledged the concerns expressed by the public and said there would be a buffer zone larger than that required by law between the plant and the road and that there would be other measures in place to protect the ‘environment.
“Right next to the site is a huge pile of concrete that has been dumped there because people don’t know where to get it. It’s expensive to dump it and the nearest sites are less than 30 miles away. from Titusville in both directions,” Zemball said.
He hopes the recycling plant will stop people putting more concrete into landfills when it could be reused. Recycled concrete can be used as a road base and in a variety of construction projects, Zemball said.
Zemball listed several protective measures that would be taken by the factory:
- Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan
- Quarterly water chemistry analysis
- Misting to prevent concrete dust from entering the air
- Wind pads to prevent concrete dust from being blown off site
Zemball said the company has not received any complaints or violations at its other factories in the state.
Why do people oppose it?
Many of those speaking out against the project at the meeting said they had little confidence that the environmental protections promised by the company would actually work and said the water used to fog dust from the air would strain the area’s aquifer.
Nayra Atiya said placing the plant less than a mile from homes, hotels, the Enchanted Forest and the lagoon would be riskier than it’s worth.
“Crushed cement is toxic,” she said, adding that silica dust can cause lifelong damage to those who bring it. Dust residue will end up in the lagoon and further damage it, she said.
Laurilee Thompson, a commercial fisherwoman and owner of Dixie Crossroads Seafood in Titusville, was also among those opposed to the project, citing concerns about odors, noise, dust and pollution, which she said were commonplace with this guy. of plants.
She suggested the company look at other locations farther from US 1 and the lagoon so the company could set up the plant.
“Other communities have passed legislation to move concrete crushing facilities away from parks and other residential areas”, “We now want to consider allowing a person to enter across from Tom Statham Park and so close to the river? “
What are the next steps to approve or reject the project
Since the plant’s approval is based on a conditional use permit, the city is allowed to add stricter rules regarding its operation. But that doesn’t mean the city is allowed to refuse the project outright.
After the Titusville Environmental Commission reviews the project in more detail, the project will return to city council on June 14, but many members said they were inclined to oppose the project.
“If you are inclined to deny the application for this development permit, you must include written notice…the notice must include a citation of the applicable parties of an order, statute, or other lawful authority of denial” , the city said. attorney Richard Broome.
This means there must be an existing law or part of the city’s overall plan that the council can indicate that would ban the plant, otherwise it can go ahead.