By DOTTY NIST
The Southland Concrete Plant proposal will be considered next month by the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC), with the location of the proposed plant to be a four-acre site at the end of Old Ferry Road on the Intracoastal Waterway.
Following review by the Walton County Technical Review Committee, the plant proposal was heard by the Walton County Planning Commission in April 2008. The planning commission recommended for approval.
The property where the proposed plant would be located, approximately 50 acres in size, is already in use for industrial activities, including concrete manufacture. This property is subject to a 2001 federal court order directing Walton County to consider it as a heavy industrial land use area.
Despite heated community objection, in 2002 Walton County approved an asphalt plant proposal for this property. That plant was never built. More recently, another asphalt plant proposal was approved for a portion of the same property located on the north side of the Intracoastal. That plant was not constructed, either.
The Southland Concrete Plant was on the BCC agenda on May 13. Jason Bryan, county planner, commented that the developer had decided not to go forward with the asphalt plant that was previously approved on the north side of the Intracoastal.
The Southland Concrete Plant site is located on the south side of the waterway and is currently listed in the Walton County Property Appraiser’s records as under the ownership of Washington County Land and Development, L.L.C. The property was previously owned by S&S Materials.
District 4 Commissioner Sara Comander commented that she was surprised that the county had received no public comment on the concrete plant proposal.
“It’s been too quiet,” she said. Comander said she had concerns about the location of the plant right on the waterway.
Bryan said the developer had followed notification procedures as required by county code. He stated that, to his knowledge, the proposal meets all technical requirements of the county’s comprehensive plan and land development code.
However, Len Pullen, a Point Washington resident attending the BCC meeting, stated that he lives in the neighborhood where the concrete plant is being proposed, that he and others would oppose it, and that he had not received any notification of the project in his mail. He said he had not previously been aware of the proposal.
Concerned that others in the community had also been unaware, Comander moved to continue the item in order to allow for others to weigh in with their comments. Her motion was approved, and the item was scheduled for the June 10 BCC meeting, which is to begin at 4 p.m. and take place at the South Walton Courthouse Annex.