Tennessee judges hears Western Farm, Sumner County arguments

| Published on February 24, 2014

gavel

Judges in the Tennessee Court of Appeals on Wednesday heard arguments from representatives of Western Farm Products LLC and Sumner County regarding a proposed quarry in Castalian Springs, The Tennessean reports.

Western Farm wants to build a rock quarry, rock crushing plant and concrete plant on its 356-acre property but has gained community and statewide opposition because of its location near the Historic Village Center — home to several state-owned and -protected properties.

The case has been ongoing since July 2011, when the county board denied Western Farm’s application to build the quarry. Western Farm appealed the decision, and in March 2013 a judge in the Chancery Court for Sumner County upheld the decision.

Western Farm has since appealed the decision to the Appellate Court, bringing company and the county attorneys before three judges last week.

The company’s attorney argued that the board wrongfully denied the the application, pointing to the county’s 2035 regional growth plan. Company representative Tom White said the plan “allows a rock quarry on what is a rural-agricultural property. The 2035 plan clearly shows that that property is rural-agricultural and nobody disputes that.”

Other company attorneys added that state law says the 2035 plan “trumps” the zoning ordinance.

County attorney Jack Robinson argued that the board “didn’t know all the implications” when the plan was adopted in 2010. Robinson added that the language in the plan suggests against  Western Farm’s proposal, noting that “the primary focus is historic conservation and enhancement, protection of natural resources, rural preservation and maintaining a sense of community.”

Sumner County is also concerned with the proposed quarry’s proximity to the Historic Village Center, particularly heavy truck traffic moving through the area.

Western Farm attorney said the company will not interfere with the historic properties.

The court may not announce its ruling for several months. Once the court rules, either party could present the case to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

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