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Residents halt a proposed concrete plant project near the Shaw Nature Reserve

The view from the backyard of Kelly Brothers Mason, a resident who opposes the construction of a concrete plant near the Shaw Nature Reserve.
Great Rivers Environmental Law Center
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The view from the backyard of Kelly Brothers Mason, a resident who opposes the construction of a concrete plant near the Shaw Nature Reserve.

A group of Franklin County residents have halted plans to build a concrete plant near the Shaw Nature Reserve. 

Concerned residents appealed a 2016 Circuit Court decision that would have allowed Landvatter Ready Mix to build its plant at a proposed site in Gray Summit. The Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri ruled Tuesday that the Franklin County Planning and Zoning Commission should have given residents a chance to comment on the project.

The residents, who created a group called the Concerned Citizens Against Landvatter Ready Mix, complained that a concrete plant would increase truck traffic near their homes, worsen air quality and bring down property values. They argued that the plant should be built in an industrial park. 

"We weren't allowed to voice any of our concerns," said Kelly Brothers Mason, who lives near the site. "A concrete plant is dirty and dusty so therefore there would've been pollutants on the ground, around it and laying on the trees." 

The view from the backyard of Kelly Brothers Mason, a resident who opposes the construction of a concrete plant near the Shaw Nature Reserve.
Credit Great Rivers Environmental Law Center
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The view from the backyard of Kelly Brothers Mason, a resident who opposes the construction of a concrete plant near the Shaw Nature Reserve.

The Missouri Botanical Garden, which conducts restoration work at the Shaw Nature Reserve, also opposed the project. 

"We are pleased that this development will not go forward as this would have negatively impacted Shaw Nature Reserve," said garden president Peter Wyse Jackson in an emailed statement. "We are sure there are other more appropriate locations for this venture." 

However, Landvatter Ready Mix could still find another way to build the plant at the site, said Kathleen Henry, a lawyer at the Great Rivers Environmental Law Center who represents Mason. 

"The developer might refile a new application for some kind of rezoning," Henry said. 

The location where Landvatter Ready Mix planned to build a concrete plant near the Shaw Nature Reserve.
Credit Mapbox, OpenStreetMap
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The location where Landvatter Ready Mix planned to build a concrete plant near the Shaw Nature Reserve.

Henry added that Franklin County officials have a tendency to side with developers because such projects often promise to add more jobs to the area. Landvatter Ready Mix proposed building the plant at the site in Gray Summit in 2014. 

Landvatter Ready Mix and Franklin County officials did not respond to requests for comment. They have 15 days to respond to the ruling. 

Follow Eli on Twitter: @StoriesByEli

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Eli Chen is the science and environment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio. She comes to St. Louis after covering the eroding Delaware coast, bat-friendly wind turbine technology, mouse love songs and various science stories for Delaware Public Media/WDDE-FM. Before that, she corralled robots and citizen scientists for the World Science Festival in New York City and spent a brief stint booking guests for Science Friday’s live events in 2013. Eli grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, where a mixture of teen angst, a love for Ray Bradbury novels and the growing awareness about climate change propelled her to become the science storyteller she is today. When not working, Eli enjoys a solid bike ride, collects classic disco, watches standup comedy and is often found cuddling other people’s dogs. She has a bachelor’s in environmental sustainability and creative writing at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and has a master’s degree in journalism, with a focus on science reporting, from the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.