Murfreesboro-Rutherford County Quarry (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)
Attorneys filed an appeal Wednesday with the Rutherford County Planning Department in response to the Planning Commission approving a site plan for existing buildings at the Murfreesboro-Rutherford County Quarry.
The appeal, filed by Jay Jackson on behalf of Blackman community landowners Avent Lane and Gerald Sullivan, questions whether the approval of the site plan was proper because the plan and buildings are inconsistent with the current land zoning.
“Further, the planning director (Doug Demosi) made a determination that the quarry activities were non-conforming use and allowed by Tennessee law and the county zoning ordinance,” Jackson wrote in the appeal. “This decision was incorrect and was made without any supporting documentation.”
Jackson further alleges the Planning Department violated local ordinances by not penalizing the Rogers Group Inc., which owns the quarry, for constructing the buildings without the proper permits.
On Friday, Demosi said he cannot comment on the appeal until he speaks to the Rutherford County Legal Department.
He did explain the zoning ordinance allows any decision by the Planning Commission to be appealed.
“Now, it goes to the Board of Zoning Appeals, and they make a decision based on it,” Demosi said, adding a date to hear the appeal has not yet been set, but it will likely be held in January.
During a regularly scheduled meeting Monday at the Rutherford County Courthouse, the Planning Commission approved the as-built site plan proposal for accessory structures at the rock quarry on Burnt Knob Road.
Members voted by a 7-3 margin to approve the structures that are already at tha quarry, most of which were built in 2006 without the proper permits.
Since 2008, the Rutherford County Commission has been in litigation with the Rogers Group over discrepancies in the 1984 zoning resolution, which has since been replaced with a new ordinance that will go into affect in January.
At issue is the setback requirement for resource production and extraction. In the current resolution, quarries must be set back at least 1,500 feet from surrounding homes zoned for residential use.
Complicating matters further is the fact that Rutherford County officials believed for years the area was zoned for industrial use.
However, one of the attorneys involved in the lawsuit found that there was no supporting documentation that the County Commission ever repealed the setback requirement for Stone Man, which owned the property until the Rogers Group purchased it 12 years ago.
The rock quarry was originally opened in the mid-1980s after the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled the County Commission was required to approve a conditional-use permit for Stone Man to excavate at the quarry in the Blackman community.