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A 12-acre tract in White House could be the future site of a chemical plant. FILE

Two weeks ago, the White House Planning Commission considered the idea of recommending a rezone for a JSC Corrosion Technologies chemical plant on the east side of Union Road, adjacent to I-65 and residential areas and directly across from a dairy farm.

 The White House site is referenced as Robertson County Tax Map 106, Parcel 184 and it’s 5.05 acres owned by Donnie R. Jones. Its current zoning is light industrial I-1. The request was for Heavy Industrial I-3.

“It’s an industrial property. It’s nothing harmful, I was told,” said Donnie R. Jones. 

Jim Brinkley Realtors, located at 630 TN-76, White House, TN 37188, is listing the property, which includes 12 acres for $822,000.

Michael Carvalho with JSC would be the applicant if the sale goes through that is contingent on the requested rezone. At the meeting, Carvalho agreed that a restrictive clause in the deed would be placed on the property so that it would revert back to restrictive light industrial if sold at a future date.

The proposed chemical plant would be on the Robertson County side. The Industrial District zoning designation I-3 is intended to provide suitable areas for intense or potentially noxious industrial and scrap operations, including open land operations. Secondly, the Industrial District is intended to isolate and protect these industrial lands from encroachment by other uses.

JSC Corrosion Technologies’ requested zoning of I-3 broadly permits sanitary landfill operations, chemicals and allied products manufacturing, petroleum refining or related industries, chemical storage, storage of products treated with potentially hazardous chemicals, radioactive materials and waste disposal by incineration or compaction. 

This type of zoning also allows explosive manufacturing, hazardous waste transfer or storage and adult-oriented businesses where proximity to schools and churches permit.

Some White House citizens are concerned about the possibility of the local water sources being contaminated. Present at the meeting were Phillip and Dianne Kelley. The Kelley Dairy property is directly across the street from the proposed site. Their cattle use the creek that crosses the subject property as the primary water source.

The Kelly’s say they worry that if the chemical plant were to be built near their 125-year-old dairy farm and there was a chemical spill, the toxins could affect their creek, and ultimately the product they produce.

“We’re trying to preserve our land. That’s our goal,” said Phillip Kelley. “We have daughters and granddaughters to leave the farm to, so we’re not interested in having something that’s detrimental to us for somebody else’s problem.”

During the meeting, a unanimous vote passed to recommend review by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BOMA) including a stipulation to review the processes, chemicals, storage, emergency containment, first responder info and cleaning procedures of the proposed business for suitability for the site and location.

The White House fire department reviewed the list of chemicals submitted by the petitioner and did not mark them as flammable. The toxicity has not been reviewed yet. 

With all the information, it was determined that the JSC facilities' most harmful effects would be skin irritation, rather than being hazardous or highly flammable, according to Planning and Codes Director Ceagus Clark.

JSC Corrosion Technologies stated they would be building a mixing facility on Union Road primarily for a new anti-corrosion chemical currently under development. It has not yet been produced in any other location. 

The Planning Commission will work together with the BOMA to review the proposed industry - reviewing the facts and ensuring safety and compliance with current laws, ordinances and building codes. They have scheduled a planning session for Dec. 14 prior to the regular Planning Commission meeting later that evening.

The BOMA will have the ultimate decision if the chemical plant is a good fit and a benefit to the community.

The Planning Commission said they will further educate themselves on the chemicals, processes, storage and oversight JSCs’ industry uses; to include research documented failures, contamination issues and safety concerns.

There will be multiple additional reviews of the project including site plans, environmental impact study and a public hearing if the BOMA moves the project forward.

“The process of approval is working as designed,” said Clark. “The fire and public services departments are working to assure there will be no harmful chemicals used or discharged to harm agriculture or the surrounding residential area.  If there is remotely a chance, the Board of Mayor and Alderman would reject this zoning.”

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