Dallas residents in the Joppa neighborhood want concessions imposed by city officials before approval of a zoning request to allow a new concrete batch plant in their area.
The proposal from Union Pacific Railroad would change the zoning for railroad property on South Central Expressway north of Linfield Road.
It is scheduled for Dallas City Council consideration Wednesday.
A gravel yard and asphalt batch plant currently occupy portions of the property.
Neighbors in the adjacent Joppa community believe the concrete batch plant would increase dust that currently rises from the site.
"I think it's bad, because it's not good for the neighborhood to inhale the dust," said resident Mary Brown.
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Joppa is an historic Freedman's Town community where former slaves once settled.
The Inclusive Communities Project is working with Joppa residents to fight the concrete plant.
"This is not something that other communities in the city of Dallas have to deal with," said ICP President Demetria McCain. "Over and over they get things imposed on them, but nobody stops to truly ask what they want or how they feel about it. It just happens. This has been going on for decades, and now it's time to stop."
ICP recently won fair housing commitments from the city of Dallas that require affordable housing to be built across the city and not just in poor neighborhoods.
New Habitat for Humanity homes are being built in Joppa, and neighbors do not want the progress they are seeing in their community spoiled.
The Joppa residents want Union Pacific provide more support for their community in writing if the additional plant is to be located near their homes.
"They should be willing to do so, because there is a community around them and they have to come to our community to get some of that zoning passed for that business," said Joppa resident Temeckia Derrough.
Among other requests, the residents want the company to renovate and fund a community center in an old Joppa school building.
"If we work with you all to get what you want, you've got to work with us to get what our community needs," Derrough said.
The zoning request could also allow warehouses to be constructed on the railroad property in the future.
Zoning consultant Dallas Cothrum who is working for Union Pacific said the concrete batch plant is only an interim use for the property. He said mixing concrete at that site with railroad access to deliver raw materials would greatly reduce truck traffic to produce it at some other site.
Cothrum said truck traffic currently using Linfield Road to leave Union Pacific property would be redirected to Central Expressway if the new zoning for that portion of the railroad property is approved.
Cothrum's firm provided a display to be shown to the Dallas City Council at Wednesday's meeting. It claims emissions from a concrete batch plant would be minimal, less than a char-broil hamburger restaurant might produce.
An official with Union Pacific provided letters sent to Dallas City Councilman Kevin Felder about the project and Union Pacific commitments to the community.
None of the company material includes any commitment about support for a Joppa community center.
"I don't want them to leave. I don't know who was here first, the slaves or the railroad," said resident Mary Brown. "If we can come to some common ground and try to work something out, it will be good for everybody."
The matter is set for a zoning hearing and Dallas City Council vote on Wednesday at 1 p.m. It has been delayed twice before, and the Joppa neighbors hope it will be again, unless they get additional commitments from the company.
Councilman Kevin Felder did not return a message Monday.