FRANKLIN — The Franklin City Commission on Monday passed an ordinance restricting the type of vehicle traffic that can travel on Kenneth Utley Drive/Ditmore Ford Road, a move that may stymie Charles Deweese Construction’s efforts to build a rock quarry in the area.
The commission unanimously adopted the ordinance after it received a second reading during its regular meeting.
With the new regulation, the city has now joined the county government in establishing limits on road traffic on Ditmore Ford Road, which passes through the city and county.
Only residential traffic, recreational traffic to and from the community park along Ditmore Ford Road and noncommercial traffic are allowed to use the road, with the ordinance granting exceptions for licensed waste haulers, school buses and other heavy vehicles exempted through certain state laws.
Violators of the ordinance can be subject to fines up to $500 or up to 90 days in jail.
Deweese owns an 87.67-acre tract of land along Ditmore Ford Road where the company has proposed to build a quarry where rock would be mined for road projects and agricultural lime.
Since the company’s proposal last year, a group of people living near the proposed quarry site have emerged to oppose the plan, forming the group “Neighbors Against the Quarry” and contending that Ditmore Ford Road is unable to handle the heavy trucks that would enter and exit the quarry. They’ve also raised concerns about the potential effects of blasting and quarry dust on nearby Drakes Creek.
Deweese officials have said the quarry is necessary to remain competitive for highway construction projects and be a boon to the local economy.
Tim Smith, executive vice president for Deweese, did not return a message requesting comment.
The company obtained a conditional-use permit last year from the Franklin-Simpson Zoning Board of Adjustment, but subsequent applications for state permits from the Department of Natural Resources have been countered by efforts by the city commission and Simpson County Fiscal Court to limit traffic on the road.
The fiscal court requested American Engineers in Glasgow evaluate the road, and the company late last year submitted a report concluding that Ditmore Ford Road in its current condition is inadequate to support commercial traffic due to pavement conditions, the road’s narrow width and inadequate design and support of a low-water ford crossing Drakes Creek.
David Carver, a quarry opponent who helped organize the group early on in the process, attended Monday’s commission meeting.
He said afterward that he was heartened by the commission’s vote and planned to inform state natural resources department officials of the decision.
“I felt that everybody was waiting in line, but nobody wanted to be the first to say ‘no,’ ” Carver said.