County Commission rejects gravel mine in Rosemark

Location of proposed gravel mine in Rosemark

MEMPHIS, Tenn.  — The Shelby County Commission rejected a special permit in a meeting Monday that would have allowed gravel mining in a north Shelby County community.

The permit, requested by Memphis Sand and Gravel Co., would have transformed a vacant area in Rosemark into a gravel mine. Many residents attended the commission meeting to oppose the plan, and they prevailed in the end.

“It’s a victory for the little guy,” said Trip Jones, a resident of the area. “It’s a victory for the community. It’s a victory for safety. I just can’t thank the community enough.”

There were about 75 residents of the area who came to the meeting to voice their opposition to the mine. Many cited concerns about their safety and property value. Residents were also worried about noise, dust and trucks traveling back and forth on their small, narrow roads.

The site was proposed at the intersection of Mulberry and Rosemark Roads, about 1.5 miles off Austin Peay Highway.

Jones said the next step would be for the community to try to get ordinances changed so they do not have to come to the commission to oppose this plan “every five years.”

A similar plan was proposed eight years ago but was rejected. With an all-new commission and a revamped plan, Memphis Sand and Gravel Co. tried to get their mine again.

Commissioner Amber Mills, who represents the district with the proposed mine, urged her fellow commissioners to reject this plan, which they did.

“The benefits to Shelby County of this project do not outweigh the costs,” Mills said.

Representatives from Memphis Sand and Gravel Co. said throughout the meeting that without this site approved, they would have to relocate to Tate County, Mississippi. The company has been located in Memphis for more than 109 years, so they wanted to commission to help them not leave the county.

“We think it’s unfortunate,” said Adrian Bond, director of public engagement for Caissa Public Strategy, who represented Memphis Sand and Gravel Co. “We think some of the commissioners were swayed emotionally by the residents.”

Bond reiterated that in about three years, Memphis Sand and Gravel Co. will have to go to Mississippi, possibly forcing the gravel price up.

Bond also said although there is gravel of the same type scattered all throughout Shelby County, there are no sites that have enough to open up a mine, which is why the company will have to go to Mississippi.

Memphis Sand and Gravel Co. could take the issue to court, as they did when rejected eight years ago, but Bond said he is not sure yet if they will do so.

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