The Sherman Planning & Zoning Commission recently approved a request related to a new concrete recycling operation on FM 1417 in a three-to-four vote. The proposed plant received heavy opposition from residents and neighbors who expressed concern with the site’s impact to the area.

With the approval, the request will now be sent to the Sherman City Council, who will make a final judgment on issuing a specific use permit for the facility. Residents will be given a second chance to persuade city officials during a June council meeting.

“Waste concrete and asphalt is generated within the region by street, highway construction and private construction projects,” Drue Bynum, representing the applicant, said to the commission. “This waste stream material has been dumped in ditches and landfills for decades. Now, recycling of this material can reduce illegal dumping and unnecessary landfilling.”

Bynum spoke on behalf of Big City Crushed Concrete, who has operated in North Texas for nearly 30 years, he said. This includes more than half a decade in the city of Sherman, where it has recycled waste materials that were reused for street and municipal projects.

“We’ve done this with the city for six years and I daresay you probably did not know that,” Bynum said.

The applicant requested a specific use permit to construct a new facility at 1022 Northeast FM 1417 between U.S. Highway 62 and the railroad tracks. The facility will take in waste materials free of charge and crush them into their base components and collect the aggregate material for sale for future road projects.

The plant would be based on 19.98 acres and would feature paved driveways off of FM 1417. This would allow operators the ability to sweep and vacuum the entrance to reduce any dust that may be generated.

Bynum said the site would also use sprinklers to keep materials at the collection sites for processed and unprocessed materials to keep dust generation down. Drainage from this would be collected in retention ponds where it would then be reused.

The request was met with opposition from several members of the community, who expressed concerns ranging from the health effects of dust to the impact it would have on area property values.

“Who wants to have a concrete plant like that, that creates dust,” Jack Pierce, who owns property adjacent to the site, said.

Roy Webster, pastor at Grayson Bible Baptist Church, said he appreciated what the developers were doing but expressed concern on how the site might affect children. Webster also expressed concerns about water supply and capacity in the rural area.

“Although I appreciate the recycling attitude of this company, the problem we have is we have between 170 and 190 students in our school that are between 3 (years old) and the 12th grade,” he said.

Officials with the project said they have already consulted with Pink Hill Water Supply, which provides water service in the area, and are working to determine the need. Grayson Bible is among the users on the Pink Hill line, Webster said.

Bynum said many of the questions and concerns seemed to be based on incorrect information under the assumption that concrete would be produced at the site. With regard to dust, Bynum said the site will likely produce about one-fourth of the dust that is generated by a farmer plowing a field. Concerns about noise were also over exaggerated, he said, noting that he could hold a conversation near the site’s crusher.

Bynum answered other concerns related to runoff, noting the site’s ponds will be designed to collect runoff, but he could not rule out some runoff from the ponds during periods of intense rain. However, he said the site still fell within environmental guidelines.

There was a brief moment of confusion over the votes when a motion to approve the request was made over how many votes were needed to pass the item. Ultimately, it was determined the request was approved in a four-to-three vote with Trish Wood, David Downtain and Paul Manley as the dissenting votes.