- Associated Press - Monday, March 17, 2014

GRAY SUMMIT, Mo. (AP) - The Shaw Nature Reserve in eastern Missouri appears to be getting a new neighbor - a concrete plant. The idea isn’t sitting well with leaders of the nature center or those who live nearby.

The Franklin Zoning Commission will meet Tuesday to consider approving the Landvatter Ready Mix concrete plant on 24 acres off old U.S. Route 66, across the street from Shaw Nature Reserve, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1fCCaii ) reported. If the permit is approved, landowner Lyndon Stelzer will sell his property to the concrete company. A county review committee has already recommended approval.

“We get lip service how wonderful Shaw Nature Reserve is, how it’s a jewel for Franklin County,” Shaw director John Behrer said. “But I don’t think they’ll stop this.”

Neighbors worry about the potential eyesore, dust from the dry concrete and noise.

“Nobody wants it,” said Kathy Lovett, 64, who lives above the site, on Old Gray Summit Road. “You got Shaw Nature Reserve across the street. We’ve got woods in our backyard. Why would we want a concrete plant?”

Parties involved in the project say dust is unlikely, buildings will be unobtrusive and truck noise will be tolerable. Besides, they say, jobs are much-needed.

Stelzer said the noise might be worse if the plant is turned down, because he’d build a dog kennel. Stelzer owns the Grand Haven Pet Lodge in Foristell, Mo.

“I just laughed at that one,” he said of the noise concern. “They have no idea what these dogs would sound like.”

Stelzer said the concrete plant is not a mine that digs up rock or a factory. It is a mixing station where elements of concrete - sand, rock, cement and the coal by-product fly ash - will be will trucked in, dumped into mixers, and trucked out as concrete.

Roger Landvatter, president of the company his family owns, said the plant will be similar to its St. Louis County facility, with a hill full of homes overlooking the yard. He expects little dust and noted that concrete mixing is strictly regulated, plus filters and vacuums will catch loose particles.

Still, Behrer is concerned. The preserve has worked for 35 years to rehabilitate 2,400 acres. The land had been filled with invasive plants and stripped of native wildlife, but now resembles Missouri’s original landscape again. Bobcats, prairie grasses, sparrows and butterflies have returned, Behrer said.

Peter Wyse Jackson, president of the Missouri Botanical Garden, which runs the preserve, called it “an international showcase for ecological restoration.”

Behrer doesn’t know how the concrete plant would change that.


Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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