Hundreds of residents are expected to show up to an environmental hearing Thursday night to protest a concrete batch plant proposed just outside Mansfield city limits.
The concrete plant is planned at 7327 Gibson Cemetery Road in Tarrant County near several neighborhoods and upwind of several Mansfield ISD schools.
Residents like Pat Baines, whose family has owned the land next door to the proposed site for nearly 60 years, are concerned about air contaminants, including carcinogens, and an increase in truck traffic.
“Just because we’re unincorporated doesn’t mean we don’t have rights and can’t protest it,” Baines said. “The main thing is the air quality. I’m an avid gardener and I spend at least three to four hours a day out there weather permitting. I don’t want to be out there with a respirator or a mask.”
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She’s also concerned about truck traffic with 18 wheelers delivering aggregate materials to the site and a steady stream of cement trucks coming and going.
“Our small rural roads just can’t handle it,” she said.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will have a meeting to gather public input at Red’s Roadhouse, 1170 E. Kennedale Parkway 7 p.m. Thursday.
John Sheffield Sr., the COO of Bosque Solutions, the company proposing the concrete plant, said he plans to clear up a lot of the misconceptions about this plant at the hearing.
“I think they don’t understand what it is we’re putting in,” he said.
This will be a dry mix plant, meaning there won’t be any burning like the concrete plants in Midlothian — the water, sand, aggregate and cement will be mixed as they go into the cement truck.
That dust collector will exceed what’s required by the TCEQ, making the plant 110 percent compliant, he said. He’s operated various industrial uses out of the site for five years.
The concrete plant is needed to pour foundations, sidewalks, roads and driveways for the new homes and businesses being built in Mansfield, he said.
On Sunday, a few dozen residents braved the rain and went to Sheffield’s home to protest the concrete plant. They walked with signs in the right-of-way of the Arlington home. Sheffield did not interact with them.
The notice from the TCEQ said that the facility will emit particulate matter such as aggregate, cement and road dust.
Michael Bowen lives about a quarter mile away from the proposed concrete plant site in unincorporated Tarrant County.
When he learned about the concrete plant in July, he rallied his neighbors to fight it, both at the TCEQ and, if that fails, through the legal system. He’s mostly concerned for neighbors like Baines, who has lived most of her life next door.
“The good thing about being out in the country is that you can do what you want. But the bad thing about being out in the country is, you can do what you want,” Bowen said. “We’re building a legal fund. “We’ve already funded an attorney. We are fighting this to the bitter end.”
The Mansfield City Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution opposing the air quality permit for the concrete plant.
The city’s resolution requests a full TCEQ hearing in Austin.
“It will have a lot of dust that blows around. While it might be in the Fort Worth extra-territorial jurisdiction, it’s going to be blowing into our city,” Councilman Terry Moore said. “They’d asked for all the assistance they could possibly get so we thought we would offer a resolution in opposition.”
Mayor David Cook said he believes the concrete plant will be “hazardous to people’s health.”
City Manager Clayton Chandler said the city and council members have received complaints about the project.
“We got many requests … to oppose it and try to get TCEQ to honor the request of the many property owners who live in that area,” Chandler said. “I think some council members consider the prevailing winds and everything that it could be hazardous to health.”