Longan Asphalt has withdrawn an application for re-zoning that would have allowed the company to construct a Ready-Mix Concrete plant on Highway 59 near Leisure Road.

The Grove Planning and Zoning Commission turned down the company’s re-zoning application Tuesday after a sometimes-heated public hearing.

Had owner Clint Longan not decided to withdraw his application, Grove City Council would have made the final decision at its next meeting on March 17th.

“We never intended to cause any conflict,” Longan said in a Wednesday interview with the Grove Sun Daily. “Since it makes people so unhappy, we will explore other options. We won’t be pursuing a concrete plant at this location.”

The P&Z board voted 3-0 to reject the request to re-zone four acres of land from commercial to heavy industrial.

Nearly 60 residents, a standing room-only crowd, attended the P&Z hearing. 

At one point Chairman Judith Read banged her gavel and warned that she could eject people from the room.

"At 35 miles an hour, the cement plant is only seven and a half seconds from Downtown Grove.  I find it curious that we would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a Downtown Re-vitalization program and then ruin it with a concrete plant throwing dust into the air," Grove resident Craig Dodd commented.

Several residents of the Estates at Carey Bay across the highway also spoke, concerned with air quality and dust particles.

"The Longans are nice young men but I don't think they would want the air quality ruined," resident Nancy Proffitt said.

The issue of "spot zoning" was raised by Michael Granum, who called the re-zoning plan a "classic case of spot zoning," referring to a small parcel of land which is re-zoned solely to benefit the owner, not in keeping with the area around it.

The Grove City Attorney offered an opinion that spot zoning was concerned only with 22,000 square feet or less of land.  The re-zoning application is for four acres, or about 180,000 square feet.

A comprehensive land use plan was developed in 2003 by the Planning and Zoning board.

“We should stick with it,” Read said of that plan.

The plan zones the Highway 59 corridor from downtown to Sailboat Bridge as Commercial, including the current asphalt plant.

Several suggested that the asphalt plant be moved to the Industrial Park east of the city, but city officials say the current gas line is insufficient and a new line would cost up to a half million dollars. A new line was installed in 2004 to Rocket Gaming but it is a four inch poly line, according to Jack Bower, Public Works Director, who said a new line would need to be a six inch steel line.

The Longans have owned the current location of the asphalt company since 1957 – well before the site was within the city’s corporal limits.

Board member Larry Sadler said his dilemma was between doing what is legal, and what is correct.

"I have witnessed the heavy hand of government in the 25 years I have been here.  It is people like the Longans that have made this community.  Most of the people against this re-zoning are people who moved here after 1957 when there was a gravel pit on the site.  And we say, now we are not going to let you do what you've been doing for 50 years," Sadler said.

City Manager Bruce Johnson did not attend the meeting, nor did P&Z Board members Terry Hunter and Rollie Cornelson.