Rock Plant Company Wins Court Battle With Nearby Residents

The citizens group CARD, Citizens Association for Responsible Development, says it is considering appealing a court battle it lost on Tuesday.

Judge Jerry Terry ruled in favor of the Conrad-Yelvington gravel plant in the Long Beach Industrial Park. The ruling says he could find no legal errors of law in the proceeding the Harrison County Supervisors followed in allowing the Yelvington plant to locate the industrial park.

Since the plant opened in 1999, citizens have complained about noise, dust, and that the company is heavy industry that shouldn't be in the park.

After fighting the gravel plant in the Long Beach Industrial Park since 1999, the court ruling in Conrad Yelvington's favor is a blow to CARD. The citizens group says the park is the wrong place for the gravel plant.

"The ruling, in my view, simply says the process the supervisors went through to arrive at their decision was lawful," group president Dr. Jeffrey Taylor said. "It doesn't mean the decision was correct or smart. We certainly think it's a perfect example of what we don't want, and how we don't want the Coast to develop."

The attorney representing the Yelvington plant says the company followed the law when it developed the property.

"If you give the public an opportunity to be heard, which was done, and if the board decides to place restrictions on us to be sure we operate the facility in a manner which they want us to do, to protect the public, which we've agreed to, do then I would have expected to win," attorney Britt Singletary said.

But the citizens attorney says Yelvington has not done everything the supervisors required to make the operation more environmentally and neighborhood friendly.

"They're also looking at addressing some things that weren't specifically in this record, namely the failure of Conrad Yelvington to actually carry out some of the conditions imposed in this order by the board of supervisors," group attorney Reilly Morse said.

"There may be some quibble about a fence line here or there, but we've accomplished everything," Singletary said. "We've done it all. The county has certainly not raised any questions about the burm, the fencing, the landscaping. We've accomplished everything we were required to do."

The Harrison County Development Commission negotiated the deal with Yelvington. Its attorney Harry Allen and the Supervisors Attorney Joe Meadows both praised the court ruling. Both attorneys say it vindicates the commission and the supervisors.