The Columbia County Commission listened to public concerns about a proposed waste-recovery site outside Grovetown on Tuesday and decided to renew the bidding for a piece of heavy equipment.
Residents concerned about the impact of Tutt Contracting’s planned construction of the facility on Gordon Highway voiced opposition to the plan. Their concerns included environmental impact, increased traffic and a drop in property values.
Margaret Hogue lives on Parham Road, which borders the site. She told the commission that increased traffic, airborne particulates and runoff were of particular concern.
“There are 40 families that live near there, 40 families that all use well water,” she said. “We did not know this was happening, and we’re all concerned.”
The commission, tasked with granting the company a letter stating that the proposed facility would meet waste-management criteria as required by the state Environmental Protection Division, was not in a position to approve or deny Tutt the right to build.
“It is, as I see it, a simple yes-or-no question tonight,” commission Chairman Ron Cross said before the measure passed unanimously. “After that, it will be up to the EPD to investigate.”
Still, the commission asked the company’s Preston Tutt to address the concerns of the community.
Tutt said the facility, which will separate, sort, bundle and ship out construction waste, will accommodate about 25 trucks a day, all of which will enter the facility off Gordon Highway. He said that the site plan indicates runoff drains toward Gordon Highway, away from residential development, and that an on-site retention pond will also help mitigate waste.
“We’re not burying anything,” Tutt said. “We want to be good neighbors.”
After much discussion over the course of several meetings, the commission decided to reopen bidding for a new motor grader. The grader delivered did not feature the pull-out cooler demonstrated during the bidding process.
Charlie Roupe, the local Volvo construction equipment dealer, who had secured the contract, said that the pull-out cooler had been replaced on new models as an innovation and that fewer moving parts meant greater reliability. He said the first model with that feature he had seen was the one delivered to Columbia County. It was decided that because a different product had been delivered from that purchased, the process would have to start again.
“It’s unfortunate that it has to happen this way,” Roupe said.
Only Charles Allen voted against reopening the bidding.