Maxwell residents speak out against company expansion


HANCOCK COUNTY — Maxwell residents are speaking out against a proposed $15 million business expansion that could increase semitrailer-truck traffic to the area, which they say is already a problem.

County Materials Corp., a concrete manufacturing company with more than 40 sites across six states, is seeking to expand its Maxwell facility by constructing a 100,000-square-foot facility, an effort that could create 10 to 20 jobs.

But at Thursday’s Hancock County Area Board of Zoning Appeals meeting, where the company was granted several exceptions to local rules to allow it to move forward with construction, several residents voiced opposition against the development.

Scott Evans, who lives near the facility, which is located at 5 Junction St. in Maxwell, said he’s concerned the expansion would add to traffic along East County Road 500N, which is where semis enter and exit the facility.

“That road’s not made for semi traffic,” Evans said, adding that school buses from nearby Maxwell Intermediate School already add to the community’s rush-hour congestion.

Linda Griffith, who lives directly across from the truck entrance to the facility, said the rumbling truck traffic keeps her up at night.

“I don’t need an alarm clock; I hear semis entering and exiting that place all the time,” Griffith said.

Scott Boma, regional manager for the corporation, said the facility has 30 to 35 semis coming in and out daily, usually during the plant’s operational hours, between about 6 a.m. and 4 p.m., with few exceptions.

The expansion would add 15 to 20 trucks to those daily numbers, he said.

A handful of other Maxwell residents took turns addressing the board, citing concerns similar to those of their neighbors and complaining about the dust the facility’s machinery produces.

Ron Pritzke, attorney for the company, dismissed the concerns, saying the expansion will reduce the spread of dust by enclosing almost all of the facility’s machinery.

“These are going to be some significant improvements for the neighbors as well as the employees of County Materials,” Pritzke told the board.

After exchanges between residents and company officials, all five board members approved the company’s plans, which also call for the construction of a new parking lot and the installation of new machinery that will exceed the usual 45-foot height standard.

Mike Dale, director of the Hancock County building and planning departments, said he’s in favor of the project.

“We expect it to have a positive visual and physical impact on the surrounding land uses,” Dale said.

The Hancock County Council will hold a public hearing to approve a tax break for the company on Nov. 12, when officials are expected to give final approval on the project.