Residents Fight To Keep Asphalt Plant Out Of Neighborhood

This week, the residents in a small East Texas community were told the Longview Bridge and Asphalt Company had plans to build it's newest plant in Wood County. The proposed site would take up about 55 acres on FM 779, near several homes and a bed and breakfast. The company bought the land after finding out it would be providing the asphalt for the Highway 69 Expansion Project. They're now waiting on a permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, before construction can begin.

For 12 years, Mike and Carol Fall have owned the bed and breakfast right next to where Longview Bridge and Asphalt wants the new plant, something they say could force them out of business.

"My guests pay a premium for the kind of property that I am," said Carol Fall, owner of Fall Farm Inn. "We sell an experience and that includes the natural resources of this land." Others in the community say they want to maintain what they've worked so hard for.

"There's a lot of retirees in the community who have saved and worked for there retirement dream in a house in the country," said Rebecca Shelton, concerned resident.

"I think someone just went out and found an inexpensive piece of available land and didn't think it through," said Ben Arcuni, concerned resident. Residents say they have another concern. It's the road. They say it's not built for large trucks because it's narrow and it has several hills that make it difficult to see a truck coming.

"This is a farm to market road," said Arcuni. "This is a two lane road, no shoulders on either side." This morning, residents filled the Wood County Commissioners Court, asking for the county to get involved.

"Our goal this morning is to gather together as a community to present our case to the commissioners court to be put on their official agenda for the next meeting and bring a resolution of support to be passed by the commissioners that will stop the TCEQ from granting the permit," said Fall. KLTV tried to ask a spokesperson from Longview Bridge and Asphalt why they chose that piece of land, but he refused to speak with us.

"They didn't think they would have a real fight, but we just found this out, and the community is strong, and I really do believe we will preside over this," said Fall. Wood County commissioners say they will vote in the their next meeting on May 19th whether they will send a resolution to TECQ to stop the permit. TECQ says it has 30 days to decide if it will issue the permit.

Molly Reuter, reporting.