The Fayetteville City Council agreed to pull back the city’s reach on rock quarry regulations during a special meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Council members voted to remove any reference to regulating the actions of rock quarry companies operating within one mile outside of the Fayetteville city limits.
The ordinances were first established in October 2009 to provide relief to West Fayetteville residents who live near a quarry owned by the Nashville-based Rogers Group. Neighbors in the area complained that the noise and blasting were cutting away at their quality of life.
Specifically, the regulations dictated the hours of operation and limited the quarries to 24 blasting days a year—on the first and third Wednesday of the month.
Shortly after the ordinances were passed, a costly legal debate began over whether or not the city can regulate quarries outside the city limits.
The Rogers Group testified that it would lose approximately $13,000 per week under the new restrictions. As a result, a temporary federal injunction was issued which blocked the city from enforcing its new laws both inside and outside the city limits.
With a possible permanent injunction looming, City Attorney Kit Williams believed it was time to make a change to the ordinance.
“This is normally your free Tuesday so I’m sorry to have brought you in here for this,” Williams told the council members after thanking the them for showing up on short notice. “But I felt like this was something important and something we needed your decision on.”
Williams said that by removing the language which regulates those companies operating outside Fayetteville, the city will likely save further litigation costs and preserve the validity of the ordinance as it pertains to quarries within the city limits.
In other words, the Rogers Group might not have any further interest in the case since the ordinance would no longer apply to them.
The council voted unanimously to approve the recommended amendments.
“I would just hope that maybe we could learn a little something from this in our efforts of regulation,” said Bobby Ferrell, a Ward 3 alderman. Ferrell was one of two council members who opposed the original ordinances in 2009.