FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A concrete and rock crushing plant is trying again to set up along East 1st Street and the Trinity River in Fort Worth. However, after public opposition convinced the owner to give up plans a year ago, this time he is asking the state for permission, not the city.
A permit application filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality shows newly formed business East First Recycling started the process of obtaining a standard air permit in February.
The TCEQ found the application to be technically complete May 16.
The plant is the same one opposed by hundreds of people from nearby neighborhoods in 2016. Located along the Trinity River and across from the city’s Gateway Park, opposition was based on air quality, road safety and a land use that generally didn’t fit the surrounding area.
At the time, company president Wallace Hall pulled his application to change city zoning on the land to allow the plant.
Kathryn Rhadigan, an administrator at nearby Nolan Catholic High School, recalled Hall assuring those in attendance at a public meeting, that he wouldn’t try to locate the plant there again.
“We thought we’d seen the last of it,” she said.
In the TCEQ application, the plant is described as a permanent crushing facility. Trucks would transport concrete to the plant. It would be stockpiled, as high as 45 feet, and then trucked offsite.
Access to the plant would likely be along East 1st. Fort Worth recently completed an $8 million dollar project widening the road, adding new utility infrastructure and bridges with sculptures.
“It would seem to devalue the massive investment, public and private investment that have gone into E. 1st Street,” said Linda Fulmer, a resident in the nearby White Lake Hills neighborhood.
She said the area, also bolstered by the expansion of Gateway Park, seemed to finally be experiencing a renaissance a heavy industrial use would bring to a halt.
The potential added truck traffic and air impact is what caused Nolan High school to also become involved last year and again now. The school sent a letter to current families and alumni, urging opposition to the plan.
The Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Reverend Michael Olson, also wrote a letter, urging the state to deny a permit for what he called an attempt at an end-run around the city.
A call and email to Halls office was not immediately returned Thursday.
However, in emails included as part of the application, early opposition appeared to catch an air quality engineer working on the application by surprise.
“I’m surprised by the number of comments without having published noticed or posted signs,” wrote Christopher Dick.
Thursday evening, the TCEQ website for the permit showed more than 200 submitted comments, more than double the number the site showed Wednesday.