AUSTIN (KXAN/Texas Tribune) — Several southwest Austin neighbors met on Saturday morning to protest the construction of a concrete plant at the current location of the Austin Community College Pinnacle Campus.
Residents of the Oak Hill neighborhood rallied peacefully at the campus, where representatives from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) attended to discuss plans for the plant — which is meant to service the construction of a Highway 290 expansion.
“It is outrageous to locate an industrial facility within a predominantly residential area,” said Cynthia Wilcox, president of the Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods. “We want the Pinnacle college back open for classes, but instead Colorado River Contractors’ site selection process remains shrouded in secrecy, misleading the ACC Trustees about the hazards this plant would pose for neighbors.”
The group cites Oak Hill resident and civil engineer Bruce Melton, who warned that the plant’s proximity could present health risks from pollution, in addition to negative traffic consequences.
Protesters Saturday were equipped with various signs, including ones reading, “Don’t Poison Oak Hill with Concrete Toxins,” and “Pinnacle Campus is NO place for a Concrete Plant.”
An ACC statement says Colorado River Constructors and State Rep. Vikki Goodwin hosted a community conversation Saturday to hear from stakeholders about the project’s potential impacts. The project’s constructors are requesting access to vacant portions of the 58-acre Austin Community College District (ACC) Pinnacle site as a staging area for the project.
As of this report, no agreement has been reached.
“ACC’s Board of Trustees has said the college is open to assist if it’s in the community’s best interest and the safest option,” said the statement from an ACC spokeswoman.
While the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issues permits to regulate concrete and aggregate companies’ emissions of harmful particulate matter, cities regulate other aspects — including where the plant is allowed to locate, how much noise it can make and the damage allowed from heavy trucks operating on roads.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at www.texastribune.org. The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans – and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.