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Dare planners say no to 3 a.m. start time for concrete plant

Dare County’s Planning Board unanimously recommended denial of extended hours for the Waves concrete plant.

Commercial Ready-Mix Products, Inc. has requested a modification of its conditional use permit for extended hours from 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. three days per week from mid-2019 to early 2021. The existing permit grants operation from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Monday night, a dozen people spoke in opposition to the request, uniformly asking the planning board to turn down the extension.

Residents of Laughing Gull Lane, immediately to the south of the plant, sounded forth.

Leslie Robinson said that a 3 a.m. start time would be a detriment to her health as she was worried about sleep deprivation.

Thomas Kogut said “it’s in our backyard.” His family includes children three and seven years of age. “We’re not in a state of emergency. Why is it needed?”

Said Chandra Rutledge, “my life is not taken into consideration.”

Trip Forman with REAL Watersports calculated that 98 residential properties surround the concrete plant.

Jason Forest, operations manager for Waterman’s Retreat, presented a video that opened with an Outer Banks Visitors Bureau promotional video and concluded with the sound of the concrete plant operating both inside and outside one room at the retreat. It was loud on a northeast wind pushing sound away from the building. Said Forest, “we can explain 8 to 5. We can’t explain 3 a.m.”

A property owner of a vacation rental home feared negative reviews on online.

Caroline Gray, co-owner of Cedar Hammock Campground immediately adjacent to the concrete plant, said extended hours “would severely affect my family’s business.”

Planning Board chairman John Finelli reminded the speakers that the Planning Board is an advisory board to the county’s Board of Commissioners and does not have the power to approve or disapprove a request. The planning board makes recommendations.

Planning director Donna Creef said the matter will be scheduled for the commissioners’ May 20 meeting, which starts at 5 p.m.

Attorney Starkey Shark started the presentation for proponents. “The key here is quality so it lasts longer.” He also reported that contractor Flatiron Constructors requested that Commercial Ready Mix ask for earlier hours. He also said that bonuses for early finish were not included in the contract.

He introduced Ted Holmes, senior project manager for Flatiron Constructors.

Holmes presented a tutorial on concrete and the 107 total pours required for the Rodanthe bridge deck. He talked extensively about “plastic shrinkage cracks” and rapid deterioration. “This is not normal concrete,” said Holmes. He called it “finicky.”

Asked a board member, “What was the plan” to deal with the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. operation limitation? “We were going to have to figure it out,” said Holmes.

Shark summarized that the request was for more flexibility and better product. “That plant is there; it is going to run.”

Board member Terry Gore opened the discussion. “It’s going to be bad press” and “it never goes away.” Gore, the father of children four and six years of age, voiced his opposition.

Board member Buddy Shelton said “I can’t go along with 3 a.m.”

Member David Overton objected. Finelli joined with those opposing.

Shelton made the motion to recommend denial of the request. Gore seconded. The motion passed 6-0, with member Beth Midgett absent on a long-planned trip.

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