Concrete Plant Opponents Win a Round at Dallas City Hall

Super Majority of Dallas City Council Members required to overturn the Plan Commission vote

Opponents of a proposed concrete mixing batch plant won the first round at Dallas City Hall when the Plan and Zoning Commission voted 7 to 3 against the project this week.

Estrada Concrete requested a special use permit for the plant on Bird Lane along Texas Highway 310 South Central Expressway near Simpson Stuart Road.

Neighbors including Marsha Jackson went to City Hall to fight the project.

“I don’t think it needs to be there,” Jackson said.

For 23 years, she has lived in a house a few blocks away off South Central Expressway where an asphalt shingle recycling operation has piled up mountains of material, right beside her house. The city went to court last year to close the place but it is still operating.

“Rules? No,” Jackson said. “I believe that once they get in, they do what they want to do and those rules are not being followed, from my experience.”

Paul Quinn College on Simpson Stuart Road is about a mile from the proposed concrete mixing plant location.

College Vice President of Academic Affairs Chris Dowdy said Dallas would never consider a batch plant on Mockingbird Lane near Southern Methodist University in North Dallas.

“Nobody wants to go to school down the street from a concrete plant. We wouldn’t put this on Mockingbird Lane. I don’t know why it belongs on Simpson Stuart,” Dowdy said.

Josh Butler, a consultant for Estrada Concrete, told the City Plan Commission that the company would follow all the rules. Butler argued that the land is already zoned industrial and the additional 3 year special use permit needed for concrete mixing would provide extra incentive to be a good neighbor so the permit would be renewed.

“The proposed development would allow for a beneficial use of a currently unutilized piece of property,” Butler said. “As you can see in the report, staff recommends that this request be approved.”

Jim Schermbeck with the environmental defense group 'Downwinders at Risk' said the company request ignored a master plan the Dallas City Council approved for the area ten years ago.

“The plan said we want this to be less industrialized. We want mixed use, commercial use, transit centers,” Schermeck said. “If the master plan is not going to be enforced by this commission, who’s going to enforce it then?”

Plan Commission Member Chris Lewis made a motion to approve the plant. Lewis was appointed by City Councilman Tennell Atkins who represents the area. Lewis said he had studied the issue and found that a batch plant is an appropriate land use there. His motion was defeated in a 6 to 4 vote. The final vote on a motion to reject the plan was 7 to 3.

The strong majority of Plan Commission members sided with opponents, however the case may not be finished yet. The company can appeal to the Dallas City Council for a final decision but overruling the Plan Commission rejection would require a super majority, a two thirds City Council vote.

A message for Zoning Consultant Josh Butler seeking comment on whether Estrada Concrete wants to push the appeal was not returned.

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