Court of Appeals approves Franklin rock quarry

Published: Mar. 31, 2017 at 10:29 AM CDT
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After years of legal back-and-forth, the Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling to grant Charles DeWeese Construction a conditional use permit (CUP) for a rock quarry on Ditmore Ford Road in Franklin.

Neighbors who are against the quarry have a long list of objections, including health risks associated with the dust in the air during blasting, and even the well-being of their animals.

"Some of the neighbors fought against it really, really hard, especially the ones that live really close to where the quarry was going in. Many of us have horses, and horses don't really like big booms and things suddenly, it tends to scare them," said Jennifer Jones, who lives nearby the quarry.

Another big concern is the proximity of the quarry to the Franklin community park, the rock piles clearly visible through the treeline.

"It's so close to the park I'm wondering about the noise level you're going to hear from the quarry if it really gets in production and how that's going to conflict with ballgames and things like that," explained Jones.

Despite opposition from neighbors of the quarry, the "board determined the quarry would benefit the community by creating jobs and increasing competition for limestone rock and agriculture lime."

The board did impose the following three conditions on the quarry's operations:

1. Trucks exiting the quarry on Ditmore Ford Road will be required to turn west on Ditmore Ford Road towards Highway 1008;

2. The quarry will be permitted to operate between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, and from 7:00 a.m. until noon on Saturdays;

3. Prior to the commencement of the harvesting of limestone at the quarry, the applicant is required to construct a berm at least fifteen feet high along the southern and western borders of the harvest area.

Attorney Aaron Smith with English Lucas Priest & Owsley represents the Franklin-Simpson County Board of Adjustments. He told 13-News in a phone interview Friday afternoon that the Court of Appeals ruling wasn't a total disappointment.

"The Court of Appeals addressed three separate cases and one of those was a lawsuit for money damages brought by Drakes Creek Holding Company, and part of what the Court of Appeals decided was that that case, which was previously dismissed by Judge Gill, was properly dismissed as to Judge-Executive Henderson and the Franklin-Simpson Planning Commission."

If those opposing the quarry decide to, they have the ability to try and appeal their case to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

13 News reached out to Charles DeWeese Construction multiple times on Friday by phone and email, and never received a response back from them directly. We did receive a response from an attorney representing them out of Louisville, Steven Henderson. Henderson released the following statement on their behalf:

"Charles Deweese Construction is pleased with the opinion issued by the Kentucky Court of Appeals today affirming the Simpson Circuit Court’s ruling that allowed us to resume the operation of our quarry following the Franklin-Simpson County Board of Zoning Adjustment’s unlawful revocation of the conditional use permit in 2014. The quarry has allowed us to provide additional jobs for the community, additional tax revenue for Simpson County, and benefits to the public through increased competition for construction materials and services. We have devoted a substantial amount of resources to addressing the concerns of our neighbors and we look forward to continuing to serve the needs of Simpson County and the surrounding region in the future."

To see the entire ruling from the Kentucky Court of Appeals, click on the document attached to this story.