By Bill Short
The Millington Board of Zoning Appeals has unanimously approved an asphalt company’s new request for a Special Exception to construct a batch plant on Veterans Parkway.
Board members took the action at the conclusion of a Nov. 17 hearing in City Hall.
Since 1984, Standard Construction Co. has owned 16 acres now on Veterans Parkway that were originally on Raleigh-Millington Road and zoned M-1, Light Industrial. The company operated an asphalt batch plant there, which it closed in 2010.
Standard has a contract with the Millington Memphis Airport to repave the runway and will now open a new plant at its previous location.
When Veterans Parkway was constructed, that area was re-zoned P-C, Planned Commercial, which normally does not allow such a plant.
But the Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen recently passed an ordinance on two readings that allows asphalt or concrete batch plants to be constructed in certain zoning districts.
With Site Plan approval by the Millington Municipal Planning Commission, such plants can now be permitted in the M-3, Restricted Industrial District.
They can also be a use permitted on appeal as a Special Exception by the BZA in B-2, General Commercial; P-C; M-2, General Industrial; and M-P, Planned Industrial, districts.
But they must be located on a four-lane or wider roadway at least 500 feet from any residential area, with their production equipment and trucks screened from the street by buildings, landscaping or fencing.
Standard will supplement the tree line along the front of its property with an additional planting of evergreen trees and install a chain-link fence behind them.
The company originally intended to close the existing entrance at the south end of its site and construct a new one at the traffic signal.
At its Oct. 19 meeting, the planning commission approved a Site Plan initially submitted by Standard and voted to refer its Special Exception request to the BZA.
But at the conclusion of a hearing the next day, BZA members John Bandy, Jay Forbess and John Perales voted against the request, while Chairman Doug Scott and Vice Chairman Chuck Hurt Jr. voted for it.
The three dissenters expressed concern about the odor they expected would be produced by the batch plant.
At its Nov. 16 meeting, the commission unanimously approved a revised Site Plan submitted by Standard and voted to refer its new request for a Special Exception and a height variance to the BZA.
Charles Goforth, planning consultant for the city, told the BZA the next day that the property owner south of the Standard site also owns property to the north of it. He said Standard has made arrangements to purchase that north property and transfer the existing driveway at the south end of its site to the south property owner.
Goforth said the north property will give Standard an access to Veterans Parkway from the north.
“There is an existing driveway there that will have to be widened,” he noted. “So, we won’t have the issue of the traffic coming in there and congestion at the traffic signal.”
But Goforth acknowledged that the revised Site Plan does involve moving the facilities “a little bit” farther north to an extension where Raleigh-Millington Road comes out.
He also said Tom Needham, engineering consultant for the city, had expressed concern about the traffic in the curve on Veterans Parkway.
Needham told the board that, when motorists “come around that curve” at 45 or 50 mph, they will be about 250 feet from the new driveway. So, he recommended an acceleration lane for the trucks that will be slowly exiting the Standard site.
Goforth said the commission had approved the revised Site Plan with the following conditions:
(1) Substantial screening with evergreen trees must be provided along the site frontage, with proposed tree sizes indicated on the landscape plan.
(2) Security fencing must be installed behind the tree screen on Veterans Parkway.
(3) All parking in the entrance driveway must be paved.
(4) An engineering detail of the driveway entrance and a plan for the entrance gate must be provided.
(5) A site-specific stormwater pollution prevention plan must be provided.
(6) Either an acceleration lane or an engineering study determining that it is not required must be provided.
(7) The development bond will be set at $52,300, and an additional bond must be provided if an acceleration lane is required.
Goforth noted that the first six conditions are also applicable to the Special Exception.
He also said Collierville City Manager James Lewellen told him that he has never received any odor complaints about a Standard batch plant that is located “almost in the geographic center” of the town.
Lewellen said the only complaints he gets about the plant are that it occasionally drops asphalt in the street. And as soon as he calls the company, it cleans the street.
At its Nov. 17 hearing, the BZA also unanimously approved Standard’s request for a height variance.
Goforth has said an existing tower on the property will remain and be a part of the new development. But the height variance is to allow two 60-foot-tall silos and two 42-foot-tall bins to be constructed on the property about 96 feet from the road.
He said that, along with the tree screening and security fencing, the company must keep the structures in “good condition, cleaned and painted as necessary.”