Bay Co. residents continue to speak out against McKenzie Offloading Facility project in Southport

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 10:48 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The McKenzie offloading facility in Southport has been an ongoing problem for nearby residents.

Those residents weren’t afraid to voice their concerns at Tuesday’s quasi-judicial hearing at the Bay County Commission meeting, which turned into a seven-hour debate. Multiple residents took to the microphone to speak out.

“When putting my kids to bed, the house was reverberating.”

“I’m worried about the dust and the traffic.”

“It’s a large, noisy, disruptive, and potentially dangerous thing to introduce in what is already a peaceful, bayou of a narrow channel.”

“I do not feel they can promise all these promises about keeping the noise to a certain decimal, keeping the environment safe.”

These are just some of the concerns residents have with the facility.

The McKenzie Offloading Facility in Southport is run by Hollingshead Materials LLC, which neighbors say is already too close to their homes.

“I didn’t like so much the noise that starts before 7:00 in the morning, or the lights shining through,” one concerned resident said.

Developers say the facility fits the land use because it’s already industrially zoned. They want to expand the offloading facility by building three tall silos. Developers also said their zoning use is compliant with the project.

“It’s our position the evidence is overwhelming that the development order was issued appropriately, for a property that has been used for transportation and warehousing,” said Hollingshead Materials Attorney Lisa Minshew.

“That land use goes with it because it was historically used as industrial,” Bay County Commissioner Bill Dozier said. “So now we have a company that’s wanting to continue to use, but there are some certain features they’re bringing to the table, or to the property I should say, that really affects the surrounding area.”

The hearing was intended to either uphold the development order, deny it, or approve it with additional conditions. However, a decision wasn’t made in the hearing.

“We decided to table it because of the way this came to us,” Dozier said.

The developers say they will work together to make the project more appealing, but no agreement has been reached yet.

Commissioners say they’ll take this up again at their next public meeting in two weeks.

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