MCKINNEY, Texas — City council members in McKinney balked on rezoning an area near Fairview Soccer Park and Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary for a proposed concrete recycling plant Monday night after dozens attended to protest a vote for approval.
The proposed plant would be built on 54 acres of land in southeastern McKinney, adjacent to Fairview off of CR 317.
The plant would be operated by North Texas Natural Select Materials, which is based in Frisco. It's northwest of Fairview Soccer Park, which has been in the area for roughly 14 years.
On Aug. 24, plans to move ahead with the plant were approved in a Planning and Zoning commission meeting.
Initially, North Texas Natural Select Materials wanted to use the area for recycling and batch plant operations. However, the manufacturing or batching process was removed from the zoning request.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, concrete manufacturing plants are the third-largest industrial source of pollution.
That EPA fact concerned Sammy Olali and the parents of more than 500 kids who use his soccer facilities as part of the Ayses Soccer Club.
Olali developed the soccer park over a decade ago and played for the Kenyan national soccer team.
"The health impact is what worries us," Olali said. "I cannot in good conscience allow kids to play next to that plant. If they wouldn't put it next to a school, why would they put it next to soccer fields where kids play? We'd have to find somewhere else to go, and fields are already hard to come by."
But advocates for the plant stressed to the council and the public Monday night that the recycling operation would not be that hazardous.
The machines used to crush concrete leftover from construction projects would generate 1 to 2 pounds of particulate matter an hour, a representative advocating for the plant said.
Those machines would also only take up less than half an acre, the representatives said.
The city is interested in the plant because it would make the concrete reusable for other projects, primarily roadway construction, instead of going straight to a landfill.
Council members heard fiery comments from the public leading up to an approval vote.
Many who lived near the proposed plant were part of the Ayses Soccer Club or were supporters or board members for the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary.
Only one person lightly voiced support but asked council members to look at the facts and not let attacks weigh on decisions.
The council needs a supermajority vote to move the plant towards construction, which means six out of seven need to give a thumbs up.
That moment seemed imminent when a motion for a vote was made and seconded.
But after discussion, council members voted to table the vote until the next council meeting on Oct. 19.