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Tanner hairstylist to fight quarry relocation

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

TANNER — A hairstylist from Tanner is, at times, trading her scissors for a pen.

Traci McLin is gathering signatures on a petition that opposes Rogers Group's planned relocation of its rock quarry from Elkmont to Tanner.

"The first I heard about this was last Thursday in the paper," McLin said Monday after the Limestone County Commission's meeting, a copy of Thursday's Daily clutched in her hand. "The citizens out there are outraged. I've worked my butt off to get water lines out there and the road paved, and now they want to endanger not only my property but the wildlife refuge."

McLin lives on Laughmiller Road, as do about seven other residents. She operates her hair salon from her home.

Last week, Rogers Group officials told the commission that in 18 to 24 months, it plans to relocate on about 120 acres on Laughmiller Road near Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Commissioner Bill Latimer, who represents the Tanner area, said the county does not have home rule and can't stop it.

"I've had three or four calls so far, and all of those people are against it," Latimer said.

Eight years ago, when the quarry first tried to locate in eastern Limestone County, residents there started a "Block the Rock" campaign and eventually got Athens to annex them. The city has zoning restrictions.

The quarry then located in Elkmont.

"I fought the quarry hard, but Rogers Group has turned out to be an excellent corporate citizen," Commission Chairman David Seibert said last week. "We receive very little complaints except for the nature of the roads."

Seibert said Rogers Group pays 15 cents a ton for road repairs to District 4, where it is located. That is 5 cents more than the law requires, he said.

Seibert said the move will help the county because the rock trucks can use U.S. 31 from Tanner, which is a road the state funds. Currently, the rock trucks use Easter Ferry Road and other county roads that were not built to hold the weight.

The county's four districts will start sharing the 15-cent per ton tax when the quarry moves, Seibert said.

Rogers Group General Manager Derek Roberts said the quarry is moving to be closer to the county's growth area and the new Tanner interchange.

Federal and state dollars are funding a $9.3 million interstate interchange in Tanner at Interstate 65 and Huntsville-Browns Ferry Road, where Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, envisions a Tennessee Valley Authority megasite.

The Alabama Department of Transportation is to start work this month and construction Dec. 7.

"Although there are only maybe eight residents on Laughmiller, the area impacts the refuge, Houston Place and expensive homes there and Rosie Road," McLin said.

She plans to present the petition to the commission at its Oct. 10 meeting. She said petitions will be available at area stores and churches.

"I'm taking off time from my business to get the word out because a lot of people just don't know about it," she said.

Anyone who wants to sign the petition can call McLin at 233-0202.

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