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'Not trying to destroy Mother Earth,' asphalt plant applicant says

EAST FLAT ROCK — Southeastern Asphalt Co. Jeff Shipman defended his renewed effort to build an asphalt plant on Spartanburg Highway at the U.S. 25 connector, saying he has spent weeks looking for another site to no avail.

“There’s not any to be had,” he said. “We’re meeting all the health and safety requirements that we’re required to and all the setbacks required by the county. We just tried to use the time (after withdrawing a rezoning application in December) to find something else and there’s just nothing else available.”
The refiling of the application reignited a broad campaign by neighboring property owners, recreation groups, environmental activists and homeowners to stop the rezoning. Clearly exasperated with what he regards as uninformed messaging by the opponents, Shipman said in an interview with the Lightning that people are not bothering to fairly weigh the issue.
“They were saying that they moved here for the zoning,” he said. “They didn’t have any idea what the zoning was.” Much of the area was zoned industrial years ago, he said, but now “there’s houses built all over it.”
“In their long-range plan (county commissioners) are encouraging industrial and economic development but they don’t have any zoned industrial and in the areas they did have for industrial, they’ve zoned residential,” he said.
Michelle Tennant, a publicist who raises chickens and honeybees on her land near the proposed plant site, has been a primary organizer of the rezoning opposition.
“I noted that Michelle put out that they’re not against small business development,” he said. “If they’re really not against small business development they ought to keep an open mind. This thing will not be seen heard and it will not heard and it will not be smelt. We exceed setback requirements, we meet all the health and safety guidelines. They just don’t want it — not for any reason.”
“I’m a fact-based person, (who views questions) not based on hypotheticals, not based on what might be and they’re not viewing it that way.”
“Not only will it make the market more competitive in this area, which will help lower taxes, by us doing it may create jobs at the state level,” he said. A diesel repair shop nearby would likely to see more business from trucks going to and from the plant, he said.
He also objected to comments from the kayaking community suggesting that the asphalt plant would produce runoff that could pollute the Green River.
“These people are just completely oblivious to what’s going on,” he said. “Nothing is going to drain into the Green River. We’ve already built our sediment pond. They make it out like I’m trying to destroy Mother Earth. That’s just not the case.”