Hutchens to build new asphalt plant, future rock quarry

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Public meeting addresses questions about quarry

Hutchens Construction is planning to build a new asphalt plant and future rock quarry south of Seligman, near the Arkansas border.

Plans have been in the making for the plant since last year, when approximately 190 acres was purchased for the property. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin this summer, according to Phil Hutchens, company president.

The Cassville-based company has four other asphalt plants in Monett, Berryville, Ark., Gravette, Ark. and Springdale, Ark., and wants to build a fifth to meet current customer needs and capitalize on future growth.

"We anticipate the future growth of Barry County to head a little south of Barry County, and Benton County to head a little north, and we think it's going to be a good place," Hutchens said. "We feel like that location gives us a good place to help us take care of business that we have, and expect to have."

Cleta Stanley, treasurer for Seligman's Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is happy to see the plant come in and hopes it will bring a few jobs to the area.

"I'm always glad to see anything come this way," Stanley said. "Hutchens does a lot for people. They're good people."

The company is also making plans to build a rock quarry on the same property, which is not expected to begin construction for another three to four years, Hutchens said. Due to the nature of that project, which involves land reclamation, a public meeting was held at Seligman's community center in February to invite area residents to ask questions and share concerns, some of which included noise and pollution.

[There was] concern about existing water springs and wells and things like that," Hutchens said. "We've applied for a permit [for the quarry] that requires public notice, and if there are any questions from the public, they can request a pubic meeting to have questions answered. The Department of Natural Resources sets it up."

Hutchens said of the three or four residents who attended, valid questions were asked and a good dialogue transpired.

"I think we answered most of the questions to their satisfaction," he said. "And so now, the permit goes to the director of the land reclamation program, and they make a determination whether to allow it or reject it."

Hutchens anticipates that the DNR will notify the company and any residents who attended in about six weeks, to provide another opportunity to ask questions or make additional comments before making a final determination on the permit.

"Everyone who attended was nice and cordial and had very legitimate questions for someone who would be bringing a new industry to an area they live in that anyone would have," he said

"I think it's a good deal myself," said Neal Stanley, vice president of the Seligman chamber and grader operator for the Sugar Creek Road District. "We need it. The way I understood is it's going to add about eight jobs to this area over a period of time. We need other things here, and eight jobs around here, that adds up."

Stanley said some of the concerns addressed at the meeting were air quality and noise.

"An exhaust comes out of [the plant] and they check for any kind of pollution, so there shouldn't be [any pollution] coming out of it, and there shouldn't be any [problem with] noise," he said. "Dynamite would be one stick at a time, and as far as I know, drilling will be 75-feet deep, so it shouldn't affect any springs. So it sounds like it will be alright."

Stanley said in addition to a few residents, a representative from the DNR and Seligman City Council members were present.

"The DNR said Mr. Hutchens had operated other rock quarries, and they've never had any issues with him," Stanley said. "I think everything will go through."