STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
TOBYVILLE — Opponents of a proposed rock crusher on a quarry property in the Tobyville area have cited concerns about groundwater quality, truck traffic and dust, while the owner contends he’s a “good neighbor” in a growing industry.
Collier Materials is seeking approval of a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality air quality permit to build a facility at one of the company’s quarries, located in the 4600 block of FM 1980 (Tobyville Road) in Burnet County.
Collier has two so-called “pit operations” within a few miles of one another connected by CR 120.
Guy Taylor, a resident of Northwest Oaks, is among residents who have attended public meetings and voiced concerns about the expansion of the industry operations.
“Go down and look at CR 120, at how many times they’ve patched the road,” Taylor said. “It’s costing taxpayers road money to fix.
“Landowners can’t sell their property,” he said. “(The proposed rock crusher) is going to affect the neighbors as far as groundwater, dust collection.”
Owner Stan Collier believes the concerns by nearby residents are overblown.
“There will not be anymore trucking than there is right now,” he said. “It’s an over-sized material we’re going to crush that we really don’t have much of a market for.”
Collier added that he avoids night-time work, so his operations run during the day for about 10 hours.
“They complain about the water also,” he said. “I’ve been at the Toby site for seven years and nobody has complained about water, or anything until we applied for the rock crusher.”
Taylor says he and his neighbors believe little can be done to halt the expansion of the mining industry but will continue vocal opposition and support legislative efforts to keep it out of his backyard.
“We have the right of the enjoyment of our property without dealing with dust and contamination of our groundwater,” he said. “There is no contesting allowed.”
Collier said he faces no groundwater quality violations and provides a much-needed resource for jobs and growth.
“Most people moved in here and these plants were already here,” Collier said. “We do want to be a good neighbor. I feel like we have been.”