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Gravel pit voted down after public outcry in Atoka

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ATOKA, Tenn. – The town of Atoka denied a Memphis company’s request to open a gravel mining site, after significant public outcry.

“We didn’t need this in our backyard, we didn’t want it. That’s the reason we moved out here was to get away from that, we like country livin,’”  said one resident.

Memphis Stone and Gravel already got  approval to mine here — 10 years ago — but never did it because of a downturn in the economy.

Right now it uses a site in Northeast Shelby County, and it’s almost out of rocks.

“As population grows, demand grows and it creates challenges,” said the company vice president, Alan Parks

Those who live at the current site showed up and told Atoka it wasn’t pretty.

“I have a 15-year-old subdivision that still has lots unsold because I’m in close proximity to Memphis Stone and Gravel,” said a developer.

The company swore its mines are safe and even showed what it would look like when they’re done and how they use water trucks to keep dust and sand down while working.

One man showed up and read something he found.

“There is evidence that prolonged and repeated breathing of crystalline silica dust may cause lung cancer,” he read. And then revealed the source, “This is on their invoices.”

Representatives kept saying over and over they would be a good neighbor, but people living up in the area had an answer for that too.

“A good neighbor doesn’t come in and build a gravel pit, a good neighbor comes to the fence line and brings you cookies.”

There’s a possibility the company could take this to court, but residents out here are celebrating the small victory.