Watauga Adjustment Board Upholds Denial of Asphalt Plant Permit on Rainbow Trail

Published Monday, October 19, 2015 at 4:38 pm

By Jesse Wood

The Watauga County Board of Adjustment upheld the Watauga County Planning Department’s denial of an asphalt plant permit for Radford Quarries off of Rainbow Trail Road in Boone.

“The main point is that the proposed site is within 1,500 feet of an education facility, which is the Margaret E. Gragg Education Center, and the appeal was that was not an education facility according to the ordinance,” Watauga County Planning Director Joe Furman said. “And the Board of Adjustment upheld that it was.”

The proceedings lasted about 17 hours and featured three days of testimony last week.

High Country W.A.T.C.H., a local group that formed in opposition to asphalt plant permits at Rainbow Trail Road and in Deep Gap, was ecstatic with the ruling but noted that law expenses are adding up.

“First, a moment of celebration and thanks as the Rainbow Trail asphalt plant HILU denial was upheld by the Watauga County Board of Adjustments,” the group posted on Facebook. “…This 17 hour hearing consumed and exceeded all of our fundraising efforts for legal expenses so we still desperately need your support to help with our legal expenses for the Maymead BOA hearing.”

Radford Quarries has the opportunity to appeal this decision to Watauga County Superior Court. Radford Quarries owner hasn’t responded to requests for comment since its application was publicized earlier this summer.

Maymead Inc. also has an appeal with the Watauga County Board of Adjustment planned to begin at Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. in the Watauga County Adminstration Building.

In June, the Watauga County Planning & Inspections department revoked a 2011 permit for an asphalt plant to be operated by Maymead Inc. in Deep Gap. The county had originally granted J.W. Hampton Co. the permit, but Maymead applied for a transfer of the permit after it secured a lease from the Hampton family earlier this year (with first refusal purchase rights on 100+ acres.)

In noting that the permit had expired and been revoked, Furman wrote to Maymead President Wiley Roark, “Accordingly, it will not transfer to Maymead Materials, Inc. Watauga County maintains that a vested right has not been established for the erection of an asphalt plant.

Furman cited other reasons in the letter. Click here for more details on Furman’s letter.

For more stories on the issue of asphalt plants in the High Country, click here. 

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