LEESBURG _ Lee County Commissioners voted 3-2 during a called meeting Monday afternoon to rezone five acres of land on Mossy Dell Road, which may lead to the construction of a new concrete plant.
Chairman Rick Muggridge cast the deciding vote to approve the rezoning (from agricultural use to industrial) and sale of the property to Bryan Bridges of Lee RediMix. Commissioners Ed Duffy and Luke Singletary supported the rezoning, while Vice Chairman Dennis Roland and Greg Frich were against the rezoning and sale of the land.
Frich said he continues to oppose the issue based on his belief that land taken from private property owners under eminent domain should not later be sold for commercial purposes. Instead, he said, it should have been offered back to the property owner from whom the land was taken.
“I cannot convince myself that selling to a private entity is in the best public use of that land,” Frich said.
Roland also opposed the rezoning, saying that the land should be retained by the county for future governmental uses.
“I think we will need this land down the road,” Roland said. “Also, our comprehensive plan doesn’t call for this type usage. I am totally opposed to selling this land.”
Frich and Roland said they were not opposed to the concrete plant, but Roland said he believed a private citizen would be willing to sell land for the concrete plant.
Duffy said he changed his stance after thoroughly reading the application. Muggridge and Singletary did not offer reasons behind their vote during Monday’s meeting. Muggridge previously said he supported the rezoning because of the economic growth and the new jobs the plant would provide.
County Attorney Jimmy Skipper did not attend the meeting, but Muggridge said Skipper issued an opinion that the rezoning and sale of the land were permissible despite the previous eminent domain action.
The commission called the meeting after Albany and Dougherty County officials made contact with the businessman who is planning the concrete plant in an attempt to get him to locate the plant in Albany or Dougherty County.
Lee County businessman Bryan Bridges told The Albany Herald Wednesday that he had had discussions with a number of Albany and Dougherty County officials encouraging him to bring his planned Redi-Mix concrete plant to the county after Bridges’ rezoning request was tabled by the Lee County Commission at its meeting the night before. Bridges said he was seriously considering the invitation.