Residents in East Dallas are gearing up for a fight over proposed plans for concrete and asphalt plants to be located southeast of the intersection of Northwest Highway and Garland Road.
“A plant like this doesn’t have any business anywhere near residential areas or areas where children are doing recreational activities or schools,” said Lorin McGuire who lives in the Lochwood neighborhood with her husband, Mark Fuentes, and two children.
McGuire and Fuentes said they learned about plans for the concrete batch plant and asphalt mix plant after the Dallas Planning Commission gave the proposal the green light and sent it on to the city council.
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“It created a shock in my wife and I, and realizing we had to do something about it,” Fuentes said.
Fuentes said their family’s chief concerns are about environmental impacts, noise pollution and traffic. He also fears the plants would undermine efforts to revitalize East Dallas.
“When you’re looking at what this is going to do for those neighborhoods, it doesn’t seem to align with a lot the ideas and the vision the city had for that area,” Fuentes said.
“We were all just a little bit aghast at how this could happen in realizing that if we don’t take action, it might just roll on through,” Lochwood Neighborhood Association President Scott Robson said.
Neighbors launched an online petition and organized an email campaign, asking council members to vote no on the project.
Robson pointed to similar plans voted down by the city council in 2018 after neighbors in the Joppa area of South Dallas pushed back on a concrete mixing plant there.
“You’re going to have opposition to any project like this in a residential area,” Eastwood resident Kathryn Bazan said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s in South Dallas, East Dallas, North Dallas, West Dallas, we don’t want these facilities impacting our quality of life.”
Robson urged local lawmakers to help companies identify heavy industrial areas where concrete and asphalt plants could operate with minimal impact to neighborhoods – saying an incident in McKinney last July concerned him. July 17, the Martin Marietta Ready Mix cement batch plant accidentally released a cloud of dust that coated homes and cars in a neighborhood nearby.
According to a presentation to the planning commission, Martin Marietta and Austin Bridge and Road insisted the companies would be good neighbors that are making a $10 million investment. The companies said the operation would be just over 1,254 feet from the nearest residential property lines.
In a joint statement emailed to NBC 5, Martin Marietta and Austin Bridge and Road say, “This project is consistent with our long-standing commitment to being a good neighbor in the many D/FW communities in which we operate. We are pleased the Dallas Planning and Zoning Commission overwhelmingly approved our permit request following its own extensive due diligence. We remain committed to being a good corporate citizen and continuing to engage with all stakeholders in the community.”
NBC 5 reached out to District 9 Dallas City Councilmember Paula Blackmon. In an email response, Blackmon said, “I will NOT be supporting this project and will be moving to deny it at the June 24th Council meeting.”
Blackmon is holding a virtual public meeting June 16 at 5 p.m. ahead of the planned June 24 vote.