BELL COUNTY, Texas — A company named Asphalt Incorporated LLC is building a "Permanent Hot Mix Asphalt Plant" at 4267 Dairy Road in Bell County according to documents from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
Locals said they didn't get a warning, and they aren't happy about it. Kennith Harlan told 6 News the only reason he knew is because he asked a local road construction crew.
"I was just driving down the road, I saw the equipment, stopped by some of the crews. I asked them what they were doing," Harlan said. "They told me they were moving the road over 60 feet...there was an asphalt plant being constructed."
Harlan later looked up the property on the Bell County CAD and confirmed the land was owned by Asphalt Incorporated LLC. It was a major concern for Harlan for multiple reasons.
"They are going to put it right next to a housing development and I was more worried about the air quality, peoples property values going down," Harlan said.
6 News spoke with Bell County Commissioner Bill Schumann and Bell County Engineer Bryan Neaves about the plant but both men said the county had no control over the location or construction of that plant. Bell County does not zone land and does not require building permits.
6 News also found out Asphalt Incorporated LLC also has a DBA of "Lone Star Paving", and an address in south Temple. When 6 News went to the business location on Wednesday, employees said to talk to a local manager named Joe Naiver. When Naiver returned from lunch, however, he refused to speak about any specifics of the plant or address community concerns about it.
6 News was contacted by Asphalt Incorporated CFO Steve Spinn on Wednesday as well, but Spinn refused to give any specifics about the plant.
"Our official position on this is we intend to follow the laws of the state of Texas and the steps required by the laws of the state of Texas," Spinn said.
A TCEQ Source Analysis & Technical Review for the plant stated, "The applicant has represented they will operate up to 24-hours a day with a production limit up to 400 tons per hour. This production limit is based on the available distance from the facility to the nearest property line which is at least 450 feet and a volatility factor for the asphalt which is less than or equal to 0.30."
6 News is still waiting for documents that show specifically what chemicals the plant will produce.
Bell County is building road improvements for the asphalt plant, but Bell County Engineer Bryan Neaves told 6 News the county was only doing so to protect local roads before large trucks arrived in the area.
Neaves said they were not required to make the improvements but, "If they left it the way it was, it would tear up the road and the county couldn't repair it satisfactorily."
While the county claimed to have no control over the construction, Asphalt Incorporated was required by state law to get a permit regarding air quality.
TCEQ spokeswoman Marty Otero was able to provide the following details about an air quality permit provided to Asphalt Incorporated.
"Asphalt Inc., LLC applied to register a permanent hot mix asphalt plant under the Hot Mix Asphalt Plant Air Quality Standard Permit at the east side of Dairy Road approximately 0.25 mile north of the intersection of Adams Ave. A technical review of the application (registration no. 158786) was completed and determined that all applicable requirements had been met. The application was issued on Nov. 17, 2019," Otero wrote in an email.
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