Matthews denies proposal to bring plant to Stevens Mill Road
by Kara Lopp
Boggs Paving will have to look elsewhere to open the state’s third shingle-recycling plant, after being rejected by the town of Matthews. Town commissioners voted 6-1 Monday, Dec. 13, to deny the Monroe based company the chance to open in Matthews. Commissioner John Urban voted for the company. Commissioners overruled positive recommendations from town planning staff and the town planning board. Boggs Paving, which already operates a shingle-recycling facility in Monroe, hoped to open the new operation at the former Hill Sand & Gravel site at 2168 Stevens Mill Road. The company had asked the town add the new industrial use to its industrial zoning category, which would then allow Boggs to operate anywhere in the town limits with that designation.
Citing concerns about safety, aesthetics and the proximity to houses and at least two churches, commissioners denied the request. Phil Hill, the Boggs’ recycling coordinator, didn’t return calls for comment by press time.
“When I sit back and think about what people want in Matthews, I think we could do better,” Matthews mayor Jim Taylor said. “As someone told me this afternoon, ‘We’re not Monroe.’ ”
Noting Boggs would lose direct access to U.S. 74 once the Monroe Bypass is built, Matthews Commissioner Kress Query said dump trucks hauling shingles and other waste would travel through residential areas to get to the plant.
“I don’t think this is something that should come through a residential area,” he said. “I just don’t think that’s the right fit.”
Commissioner Nancy Moore agreed, saying residents fear the environmental health effects.
“I think we have a lot of public input on this, and people are afraid, and they have a right to be afraid,” she said.
While he felt the project was not right for Matthews,Taylor disagreed about the potential harm people were concerned about.
“I don’t think it’s as dirty, as toxic, as intrusive as some people think it will be,” he said.
Boggs officials said they test shingles brought to their Monroe recycling center for asbestos, disposing of any shingles containing asbestos by burying them in an approved landfill following federal environmental guidelines. Besides the shingles, workers separate wood, paper, aluminum or other materials from each shipment and send those materials to other recycling facilities. Before the advent of shingle-recycling plants, discarded shingles were filling the area’s landfills, Hill told commissioners at an earlier meeting.
The only other shingle-recycling facility in the state operates in Greenville. Since the process is relatively new, commissioners needed to add that category of business to the list of uses permitted in heavy industrial, or I-2, zoning, Planning Director Kathi Ingrish said. Hill Sand & Gravel, the Martin-Marietta site and the town’s own Public Works yard are the only three places in Matthews with the heavy-industrial zoning.